Get your eyes checked next year Get your eyes checked next yea

Every seven minutes, someone in America will become blind or visually impaired. The Jewish Guild for the Blind, one of the nation’s foremost not-for-profit health care agencies, is encouraging New Yorkers to make a New Year’s resolution to get their eyes checked.

In preparation for 2011 and with January as National Eye Care Month, The Jewish Guild for the Blind offers vital information and helpful suggestions for taking care of your eyes throughout the year.

Simple Do’s and Don’ts of Eye Care from The Jewish Guild for the Blind

DO…

•use enough light for best vision and comfort

•be extra careful and wear safety lenses when working with tools

•look away when opening cans containing liquids

•remove all objects that stick out at eye level at home, the office or at school

•teach children to be careful with sticks, stones, etc.

•choose safe toys for children

•keep scissors and other sharp instruments out of children’s reach

DON’T…

•neglect having eyes checked at least once every two years

•use over the counter eye remedies or treatments unless advised by your physician

•let children play with sharp pointed objects

•wear sunglasses for night driving or in fog

•look directly at the sun, even while wearing sunglasses

•work in dimly lit areas

•rub eyes with dirty hands

•use fireworks of any kind

The Jewish Guild for the Blind recommends having a thorough professional eye exam at least once every two years to prevent vision problems and catch potential problems early. Eye muscle strain often causes headaches, nausea, general fatigue, tenseness and discomfort, so if you need glasses, wear them. Eye disorders such as glaucoma are easier to treat if discovered early.

Eye disease can cause pain, poor vision and blindness. Blindness is often due to general diseases of the body such as diabetes and vascular disease or specific diseases of the eye including cataracts, glaucoma or retinal disease. Eye diseases that commonly afflict seniors are cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy. For seniors suffering from any of these conditions, having an annual comprehensive dilated vision exam, reporting changes of vision, shielding their eyes from the sun with a hat or sunglasses and eating plenty of Vitamin B-rich fresh fruits and vegetables can help make the best use of the vision they still have.

Young children can’t tell if something is wrong with their vision, therefore regular eye exams should begin at age three or even earlier. Problems in school because of poor vision increase with each grade level. Parents should watch for simple signs that may indicate their child has a vision problem, including excessive blinking, rubbing eyes, tilting head to one side, stumbling over small objects, holding a book too close and sitting too close to the TV or computer screen.

The Jewish Guild for the Blind, one of the nation’s foremost not-for-profit health care agencies, has been serving blind, visually impaired and multi-disabled children, adults and the elderly since 1914. Thousands of individuals are helped annually through a wide range of programs and services specifically designed to support and enhance their physical, emotional and intellectual functioning. Rehabilitation therapies, education programs, adaptive skills and job preparation programs are designed to help persons who are visually impaired to achieve lives of independence and dignity. The Jewish Guild for the Blind is nonsectarian. The Guild is located at 15 West 65th Street in Manhattan. For more information, please visit www.jgb.org.

More from Around NYC