|(ARA) - You stretch before your workout, stay hydrated throughout and follow safe cool-down steps afterward. But while you're enjoying your active lifestyle, are you doing enough to take care of two of your most valuable physical assets, your eyes?
More than 170 million Americans are active in a fitness, team sport, recreational or outdoor activity, according to the Sports Goods Manufacturers Association. Americans' active lifestyles put their eyes at increased risk of injury and strain. In fact, more than 40,000 people suffer sport-related eye injuries each year, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
Dr. Jason Schmit, National Director of Optometry for LasikPlus, offers a few tips for eye safety and health while engaging in the sports and exercise you enjoy.
Wear eye protection
The majority of sport-related eye injuries could easily be prevented by form-fitting eye protection.
Just as you wear sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun when engaging in outdoor activities, wear sunglasses to protect your eyes. Sunglasses can help delay the development of cataracts, prevent retinal damage and protect the delicate eyelid skin to prevent wrinkles.
Don't sweat it
Sweat dripping in your eyes won't cause permanent damage even if it stings. But if you sweat a lot and drops obscure your vision, not being able to see could be dangerous during physical activity. If you need to, wear a headband to prevent sweat from dripping in your eyes.
Visit an ophthalmologist or optometrist at least once a year.
An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor who specializes in a full spectrum of eye and vision care. He or she can track your eye health and look for any potential problems.
Consider LASIK surgery if you're particularly active in sports
Even with the best equipment, your performance can be hampered if you're having trouble with corrective lenses. "The ability to be more comfortable and less restricted during all types of sports, from swimming to skiing, are among the top reasons people have LASIK surgery," Dr. Schmit says. "Furthermore, LASIK makes it easy to wear off-the-shelf eye protective gear."
The LASIK procedure only takes a few minutes. And since most people can return to normal activity the next day, the down time is very minimal compared to the long-term results. This appeals to those casually involved in recreational sports to professional athletes.
And of course, while it improves the experience for active enthusiasts, enhanced eyesight benefits all areas of one's life personally and professionally.
If you have a Health Savings Account (HSA) or Flexible Spending Account (FSA) you can use those funds to help pay for the procedure.
"Eye health should be an ongoing commitment, looked at on an annual basis similar to a dentist's visit," says Dr. Schmit. "Eyes are a window to your health, revealing not only early signs of eye disease, but also other treatable health issues such as diabetes, high blood pressure and cancer."
For more information or to schedule a free comprehensive eye health exam, call LasikPlus at (866) 818-2020 or visit www.LasikPlus.com.
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