Helping People Enjoy a Lifetime of Healthy Eyes
When helping people choose eyewear, you can provide a valuable added service by encouraging them to take proper care of their eyes — and the eyes of their children and other family members — for a lifetime of good vision. Providing this service also is good for your business. Why help only one person when you can help an entire family? Here are some key points when discussing how your patients can make healthy eyes a priority in their family.
Infancy and Early Childhood
Proper functioning of a baby’s eyes is essential for normal vision development. Infants should have their first eye exam at 6 months of age to rule out misaligned eyes and other problems that could cause “lazy eye” (amblyopia) and permanent vision loss. Ask your patients if they have young children or grandchildren in their family, and encourage them to make sure they have a comprehensive eye exam early in life.
The School Years
Experts say as many as 1 in 4 school children have an undetected vision problem that could affect academic performance. Also, learning-related vision problems often are missed in school vision screenings. Discuss this with your patients and encourage them to schedule a complete eye exam for their children at the beginning of each school year. Also, all children who need corrective eyewear should wear polycarbonate lenses for the best combination of impact resistance, comfort and UV protection. The school years also are when many kids start wearing contact lenses. Children who wear contacts should always have an upto-date pair of eyeglasses.
For most people, early adulthood is the beginning of the “9 to 5” working life. And in many cases, spending hours in front of a computer screen goes along with it. To reduce dry eye discomfort from prolonged computer use, contact lens wearers should consider wearing glasses at work. Lenses with anti-reflective coating help reduce glare from harsh lighting. Young adults should have annual exams if they wear contact lenses or notice vision problems. Otherwise, an exam every couple of years usually is sufficient.
Some time after age 40, virtually everyone needs multifocal eyeglasses or reading glasses to see clearly up close. Inform your middle-aged patients that for work, specially prescribed computer glasses often are more comfortable than general purpose eyeglasses or contact lenses. Risk of more serious eye problems such as glaucoma and cataracts begins to increase in middle age, so it’s a good idea to encourage your patients to have annual eye exams after age 40.
When we reach the milestone of retirement, another age-related eye problem becomes a concern: macular degeneration. For this and other reasons, seniors should have their eyes checked annually.
The best way to protect our eyes is to choose a healthy lifestyle at all stages of life, from early childhood on. In particular, exercising regularly and choosing a healthful, reduced calorie diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables can significantly reduce the risk of macular degeneration and certain types of cataracts, according to some researchers. Another very important thing your patients should do to safeguard their eyesight throughout their lifetime is to shield their eyes from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) and high-energy visible (HEV) radiation. The solution is simple: from childhood on, wear sunglasses that block 100 percent UV and filter HEV light. Wearing high quality, lightweight polycarbonate lenses outdoors is the most comfortable and economical way for your patients to avoid potential long-term damage to their eyes from the sun’s harmful rays.
Helping Others Feels Good – And Is Good for Business Too
Don’t keep your patients in the dark about how to protect their eyes! Use your optical expertise to educate them about proper eye care and encourage them to share this information with family and friends. Serving your customers well begins with a little friendly conversation!