March 3 through 9 is Save Your Vision Week.  Since 1964, presidents have proclaimed this event in an effort to raise eye health awareness.  While there are no parades or speeches, this is a good opportunity to talk about your eyes.

Ultraviolet light is not your friend.  Excess exposure to UV can cause growths of fibrous tissue (pinguecula and pterygium) of the conjunctiva and cornea.  Cataract formation is accelerated.  Central vision (the macula) damage can also occur.  Your best course of action is to wear eyewear with UV protection when outdoors.  Fortunately, even most cheap sunglasses provide this today.  Look at the label to make sure.

People who sit in front of a computer for long periods of time often encounter a variety of uncomfortable symptoms. Headaches, neck strain, backaches and wrist pain are common, but, sadly, the most prevalent symptoms of prolonged computer use — eye strain, blurred vision and dry eye, are often overlooked. In fact, eye and vision problems are the most frequently reported health care problems among computer users.  Simple things you can do to reduce the prolem include adjusting the monitor height and brightness to minimize muscle fatigue and strain while reducing glare and unwanted reflections.  Occasional breaks to allow your eyes to relax their focus can be very beneficial.

Periodic eye examinations are essential. The American Optometric Association recommends the following:

First exam around 6 months of age.  
  If asymptomatic next exam at 3 years.  
  From 6 to 18 years before first grade and every two years thereafter if no conditions have been found.  
  Annually or as recommended if found to be high risk.  
  From 18 to 60 an exam every two years unless recommended more frequently to follow things such as hypertension, diabetes, thyroid disease, taking high risk medications such as plaquenil, or wearing contact lenses.

Of particular interest to our active-duty population is the wear of proper combat eye protection at the range/field, use of safety glasses while working in the motor pool/machine shop and protective goggles when cutting grass/weed whacking.