Back to Top Skip to main content

The eyes have it: Seven tips for maintaining vision

Army Reserve Spc. Brianne Coots performs an exam during a readiness training event in 2018 at Kea’au, Hawaii. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Stephanie Ramirez) Army Reserve Spc. Brianne Coots performs an exam during a readiness training event in 2018 at Kea’au, Hawaii. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Stephanie Ramirez)

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Vision Loss

Eyes may be the window to the soul, as William Shakespeare reportedly said, but in the military, eyesight is essential to remain fit for duty. Here are seven tips for maintaining good eye health:

Protect those peepers. "I think wearing eye protection is the most important thing anybody can do to protect their vision for the long term," said Dr. Robert Mazzoli, a retired Army colonel and an ophthalmologist at the Vision Center of Excellence, or VCE. Of the approximately 2,000 eye injuries that occur in the United States daily, he said, 90 percent would have been prevented by wearing proper eye protection.

The VCE offers guidance on activities that call for wearing eye protection. In addition to obviously risky activities, such as grinding and hammering, Mazzoli said playing sports, working with bungee cords, and using household cleaning products or other chemicals are also risky. The Authorized Protective Eyewear List details items that provide the highest level of eye protection.

If an injury does occur, the worst thing to do is to put pressure on the eye, Mazzoli said, such as patching it. This could lead to further injury, including loss of vision and even loss of the eye itself. A rigid shield protects against further damage, he said. If a shield is not available, he suggested donning a pair of glasses to serve as a shield and then taping them in place before seeking immediate medical help.

Get shaded. The sun's ultraviolet, or UV, rays can affect vision and lead to conditions such as macular degeneration and cataracts, Mazzoli said. Macular degeneration, which permanently damages the retina over time, is the leading cause of age-related blindness. Cataracts are the clouding of the lens, the part of the eye that focuses light.

Sunglasses labeled UV 400 offer the best protection, and should be worn even on overcast days because UV light can go through clouds, said Mazzoli.

Step away from the smartphone. “When you're using smartphones, both the screens and what we're trying to see are typically very small, and this taxes an individual’s ability to focus on and resolve the content being viewed,” said Dr. Felix Barker, an optometrist with the Department of Veterans Affairs who works with the VCE.

Barker also said smartphones increase demands on vision because they're held close to the eyes for reading. “The eyes try to converge, meaning that they turn closer together,” he said. “When you spend an excessive amount of time on smartphones, you can put a lot of stress on your vision and cause blurred or even double vision.” 

Here come those tears again. Dry, itchy eyes are common among allergy sufferers, Mazzoli said. But he recommends against overusing products that contain redness relief ingredients such as potassium chloride and tetrahydrozoline, because they may eventually damage the eyes. Instead, look for products that advertise themselves simply as artificial tears, which provide lubrication.

Kick the habit: According to the American Cancer Society, smokers are at increased risk for developing vision loss and eye disease such as Dry Eye Syndrome, which appears as damaged blood vessels and causes itchy and burning sensations.

Take care with contact lenses. Contact lenses can damage eyes if they're worn for too many hours or not cleaned or stored properly, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC's recommendations include not sleeping in contact lenses unless your eye doctor has prescribed this, and removing lenses before swimming, showering, and using a hot tub.

Get regular vision exams. Active-duty service members can get routine eye exams as needed to maintain fitness for duty. Their covered family members are eligible for one routine eye exam per year and may be eligible for more robust coverage. The TRICARE website has information about eligibility and coverage for all MHS beneficiaries.

You also may be interested in...

Air Force doctor retires after 48 years of service

Article
11/20/2020
Uniformed officer standing next to an Air Force seal, wearing a stethoscope around his shoulders

In his civilian career, Thomas maintains a private practice as an anesthesiologist in Fairbanks, Alaska.

Recommended Content:

Public Health | Health Readiness

WRNMMC displays the “Art of Healing” through December

Article
11/13/2020
Woman wearing mask, standing in front of several paintings

[T]he main focus of the exhibit was the art on display, and the artists behind it.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Mental Health Care

Naval Medical Forces Pacific’s commander tours NH Twentynine Palms

Article
11/12/2020
Four military personnel in uniform, wearing masks

Weber was briefed on the implementation of MHS GENESIS...and the hospital's response to COVID-19.

Recommended Content:

Combat Support | Health Readiness | Coronavirus | MHS GENESIS

Forging of civil-military anvil against COVID-19 focus at GHSA

Article
11/9/2020
U.S. and Thai soldiers stand together during a medical exercise.

“Defense partnerships around the world are key.”

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Global Health Engagement | Health Readiness | Global Health Engagement

Dental literacy brings smiles at Naval Hospital Bremerton

Article
11/5/2020
Two military health personnel wearing masks

"If you’re not true to your teeth, your teeth will be false to you." That old dental proverb is nothing to smirk about.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Health Literacy Month 2020

‘Virtual Ward’ pilot program to reduce hospital stay time

Article
10/30/2020
Man's arm with blood pressure cuff and fingertip pulse oximeter

"The idea is that instead of staying in hospital longer..., patients are released early and can recover in the comfort and privacy of their homes."

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Technology | Coronavirus | Public Health

Behind the scenes, DHA supports DOJ to fight compound drug fraud

Article
10/30/2020
Image of several large prescription bottles filled with pills

How DHA identifies and prevents profiting from fake prescriptions.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Operation Live Well | TRICARE Health Program | Health Literacy Month 2020

Navy audiology increases medical readiness and hearing awareness

Article
10/29/2020
Soldier wearing mask, sitting at laptop with a container of ear plugs close by

"The mission of Navy Audiology is to prevent occupational-related hearing injuries and increase medical readiness."

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Hearing Loss | Health Literacy Month 2020

Weed ACH hosted breast cancer awareness event

Article
10/28/2020
Woman in pink hat and shirt, wearing a racing number, speaking to an audience

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a chance to raise awareness about the importance of early detection of breast cancer.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Combat Support | Women's Health | Health Literacy Month 2020

Air Force Unit provides worldwide medical response capability

Article
10/15/2020
Two military personnel loading equipment onto an aircraft

The 379th EAES crews provide time sensitive in-flight patient care.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Combat Support

DHA priorities focused on readiness, patients, outcomes

Article
10/7/2020
Defense Health Agency Director Army Lt. Gen. Ronald Place speaks at a podium.

Adaptation key to providing outstanding care to beneficiaries.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Combat Support | Access to Health Care | Coronavirus | Convalescent Plasma Collection Program

MSMR Vol. 27 No. 10 - October 2020

Report
10/1/2020

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Characterizing the contribution of chronic pain diagnoses to the neurologic burden of disease, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2009–2018; Surveillance snapshot: Influenza immunization among U.S. Armed Forces healthcare workers, August 2015–April 2020; Acute and chronic pancreatitis, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2004–2018.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

DHA’s Vaccine Safety Hubs emphasize safety

Article
9/29/2020
Soldier filling a vaccine needle

How MHS works to improve “all things vaccine related."

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Immunization Healthcare | Vaccine-Preventable Diseases

From Ghana to Washington, Sailor provides leadership during COVID-19

Article
9/10/2020
Female soldier with mask

Acquiring supplies, in general, has been a hurdle worldwide.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Health Readiness

Army radiology instructor and medic render assistance to crash victim

Article
9/2/2020
Mom and Dad in military gear with their young son.

Their medical training helped with knowing the steps for CPR and how to check responsiveness and breathing.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 37

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.