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All Eyes on Ophthalmologists this National Doctor's Day

By: Anna Schmitt - Communication Coordinator American Academy of Ophthalmology
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Vision is our most prized sense. In fact, most people fear losing it more than any other primary sense. Vision loss can threaten your ability drive, work, and live independently. That’s why it’s so important to take care of your eyes and keep them healthy, and to know about the physicians that care for your eyes.

National Doctor's Day, observed March 30, is a great time to learn more about the role of ophthalmologists in helping you maintain a lifetime of healthy vision. As medical doctors and surgeons, ophthalmologists provide specialized eye care, and are the only eye care providers qualified to perform medical-based eye care and surgical procedures.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology encourages you to make eye care a part of your overall health-maintenance strategy. For example:

  • Have Your Eyes Checked: At age 40 all adults should have a baseline eye disease screening, even if your vision seems perfect. If you’re age 65 or older, schedule an eye exam every 1-2 years, or as recommended by your ophthalmologist. Seniors in this age group may qualify for a free eye exam at www.eyecareamerica.org
  • Get Plenty of Exercise: Our eyes need good blood circulation and oxygen intake, and both are stimulated by regular exercise. Being physically active also helps in maintaining weight in a normal range, which reduces the risk of diabetes and diabetic retinopathy, which is a serious eye complication related to that disease.
  • Don’t smoke: Avoiding smoking or quitting altogether is one of the best investments a person can make in their long-term health. Smoking increases the risks of a variety of diseases, including those that affect the eye such as cataracts and diabetic-related conditions.
  • Understand the impact of other diseases on the eyes: The eyes are a complex organ.  They contain pigmented cells, a rich network of blood vessels, connective tissue, and the eye’s retina is actually a part of the brain. Diseases like diabetes, sleep apnea, hypertension, sickle cell disease, lupus, and many others can affect the eyes and threaten vision.  Your primary care physician may call upon your ophthalmologist to detect and manage these problems.

For National Doctor’s Day, join us in celebrating Eye M.D.s by watching a series of short videos in which ophthalmologists speak about their passion for helping patients, the expertise they bring to eye care and their dedication to preserving vision and preventing blindness. The videos are a part of the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s public education program, EyeSmart.

For more information about eye health, visit www.geteyesmart.org.