Adult Vision: 19 to 40 Years of Age

Most adults, aged 19 to 40, enjoy healthy eyes and good vision. The most common eye and vision problems experienced by people in this age group are due to visual stress and eye injuries. By taking proper steps to maintain a healthy lifestyle and protect your eyes from stress and injury, you can avoid many eye and vision problems.

Good vision is important as you pursue a college degree, begin your career, or perhaps start and raise a family. Here are some things you can do to help maintain healthy eyes and good vision: The American Optometric Association recommends that adults aged 19 to 40 receive an eye exam at least every two years. If you are at risk for eye problems due to a family history of eye disease, diabetes, high blood pressure or past vision problems, your doctor of optometry may recommend more frequent exams. In between examinations, if you notice a change in your vision, contact your doctor. Detecting and treating problems early can help maintain good vision for the rest of your life.

Dealing with Visual Stress at School or on the Job

Eyestrain is a common occurrence in today's visually demanding world. A typical college schedule or office workday involves spending long hours reading, working at a desk, or staring at a computer. A poorly designed study or work environment, with elements such as improper lighting, uncomfortable seating, incorrect viewing angles and improper reading or working distances can add to the visual stress. As the day progresses, the eyes begin to fatigue and eyestrain and discomfort can develop.

The following are several key signs and symptoms of eyestrain: Here are some simple steps you can take to minimize eyestrain, particularly during computer work: Making these simple adjustments to your study or work area can pay big dividends in terms of preventing or reducing eyestrain. If you continue to experience eye-related symptoms, you may have a vision problem requiring treatment. Ask your optometrist.

[back to top]

Ensuring Eye Safety at Work, Home or Play

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health reports about 2,000 U.S. workers sustain job-related eye injuries that require medical treatment each day. But more injuries to the eye actually result from use or misuse of products at home rather than on the job. Nearly 60 percent of all product-related eye injuries occur in and around the home, according to Prevent Blindness America.

Any injury to the eye has the potential for causing some vision loss or even blindness. Fortunately, most eye injuries can be prevented with the use of proper eye protection. Prevention involves being aware of the common causes of injury and knowing how to protect your eyes-at home, at work and at play.

At Work

Eye injuries occurring at work, whether in a factory, on a construction site, on a farm, or in a laboratory, can result from chemical burns, foreign objects in the eye and cuts and scrapes of the cornea. Common causes of injuries include: Not all forms of safety eyewear provide the same level of protection from flying objects, chemical splashes or radiation exposure. Be sure to wear the appropriate protection for the type of eye hazards in your workplace.

At Home

Using common sense can help protect the eyes at home. Following manufacturer's instructions and safety warnings will help prevent many household product-related eye injuries.

Wearing eye protection while performing certain household activities can prevent eye injuries. Some activities include: Non-prescription safety goggles are sold at many home building stores and hardware stores. If you wear prescription glasses, ask your optometrist to make a recommendation on appropriate safety eyewear for household tasks.

At Play

Sprained ankles, skinned knees, and bruises are common occurrences when participating in sports. Unfortunately, so are injuries to the eye.

Regular eyeglasses and contact lenses do not offer adequate protection from sports-related eye injuries. Special eye protection is needed for basketball, football, hockey, baseball and racket sports. Choose the right goggles or protective eyewear for your sport. Your optometrist can advise you on the appropriate eye protection.

[back to top]

Protecting Your Eyes from the Sun

Even on an overcast day, harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays can damage both the skin and the surface of the eye. Over time, unprotected exposure to the sun can increase the risk of certain types of cataracts and cancers of the eyelids. UV, as well as blue light, has the potential to damage the retina, the light-sensitive lining at the back of the eye, which could lead to significant loss of vision. UV damage is cumulative, so it's never too late to begin protecting your eyes from the sun's harmful rays.

The following tips can help prevent eye damage from exposure to UV radiation: [back to top]