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National Eye Exam Month was in August but it is always important to have regular eye exams.  Eye exams at every age and life stage can keep your vision strong.  Good vision impacts everything you do whether it is adults driving or children walking and bicycling. 

About 11 million Americans over age 12 need vision correction.  Regular eye exams are also an important part of finding eye diseases early and preserving your vision.  Of the estimated 61 million US adults at high risk of vision loss, only half visited the eye doctor in the past 12 months. 

There are two types of vision used in driving: central and peripheral.  Central vision covers about three degrees of our visual field.  It is what you see out of your front windshield when you are looking straight ahead .  It allows you to make judgements like estimating distance and understanding what is ahead of you.  Peripheral {side) vision covers the rest of our visual field.  Peripheral vision is more sensitive to light and motion.  It helps you to detect events to the side even when you are not looking directly at them.  Events like cars entering your field of vision from the side, warning lights from emergency vehicles and when a pedestrian is trying to cross. 

Central vision plus peripheral vision make up the entire vision field.  Field of vision is narrowed by speed.   When stopped, field of vision may be 190 degrees but narrows to 40 degrees at 60 miles per hour. 

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety offers the following tips for how to use your eyes effectively: 

  1. Aim high – look ahead; not down 
  1. Keep your eyes moving 
  1. Get the big picture – search the whole scene 

The Center for Disease Control recommends these 5 ways to protect vision: 

  1. Get regular eye exams 
  1. Eat a healthy diet 
  1. Know your family’s eye health history 
  1. Wear sunglasses that  block out 99% to 100% of UV-A and UV-B radiation 
  1. Do not smoke 

Another tip from the CDC is easy on the eyes.”  If you spend a lot of time focusing on one thing, your eyes can get tired.  Try the 20-20-20 rule to reduce eye strain:  Every 20 minutes, look away about 20 feet in front of you for 20 seconds. 

Remember that your eye sight is a precious gift that you need to take care of!  


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