May is Healthy Vision Month. It is celebrated to stress the importance of the health of our eyes and vision. Established in 2003 by the National Eye Institute, the goal is to spread awareness and educate society about the risks of ignoring overall eye health. One main goal for the month is to encourage individuals to have regular eye exams and checkups. It is important to be proactive and not wait for vision problems to start.
Approximately 39 million people in the world are blind and six times as many are visually impaired or have some type of sight impairment. Some eye conditions can cause vision loss and even blindness. These include Cataracts, a clouding of the eye. Diabetic retinopathy, which causes damage to the blood vessels in the back of the eye. Glaucoma, damage to the optic nerve, often with increased eye pressure. Age-related macular degeneration, which gradually affects central vision.
5 ways to protect and support healthy vision.
- A healthy diet is very important for good vision. Eating healthy supports every part of your body. To help your eyes, make sure you have dark, leafy greens and seafood that is high in omega three fatty acids in your diet.
- Wearing protective eyewear keeps your eyes safe during many activities. Protective eyewear is not only just when playing sports. Everyday activities, especially outside where different environments can have items or objects blowing through the air can be dangerous for your eyes. Some activities such as mowing the lawn, cutting firewood, or even painting can put your eye safety at risk. It is also important, with as much time as we look at screens, that we start wearing blue light protection glasses. These glasses can prevent the blue light from damaging our eyes and will assist with the wear of our everyday screen viewing.
- Wearing sunglasses will help protect your eyes from the UV rays (ultraviolet radiation) that the sun produces every day. It is significant to note that not all sunglasses provide levels of protection from UV rays. When shopping for sunglasses, it is vital to ask what type of UV protection the glasses provide. Sunglasses with both UVA and UVB protection will provide the most defense.
- Clean hands are very important to your eye health. Keeping your hands clean will aid in keeping dirt and possible infections from your eyes. We wipe and rub our eyes constantly throughout the day and even the slightest dirt or germs can have real, long-lasting effects. It is also key to make sure your hands are clean, especially if you use contacts and are putting them in or taking them out.
- Smoking is detrimental to your eye health. Smoking has been linked to many diseases, but it can also lead to vision loss. Smoking can increase the risk of age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, and other vision impairment.
North Central Sight Services, Inc (NCSS) recently received a grant of $126,750.00 from the Williamsport Lycoming Community Fund at the First Community Foundation Partnership of Pennsylvania (FCFP) to be used for the Restroom Low Vision Solution Renovation.
Built in 1987 as an industrial site, the building that houses North Central Sight Services was constructed prior to the implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Since purchasing the site in 2007, NCSS has made many updates to renovate the facility to meet ADA standards and fit the needs of our associates, many of whom are people with visual disabilities. Like our other restrooms in our facility, our renovated restroom will not only meet ADA standards for mobility but will be designed with high contrast color so floors, countertops, walls and doors are easily defined. This renovation will not only give our associates and visitors an updated facility, but it will also make mobility much easier.
“We are thrilled by the support from FCFP to update our restrooms. It is imperative that we are able to continue to make our building our ADA compliant and accessible to all employees and visitors.” Said Kim Zimmer, President/CEO of North Central Sight Services, Inc.
North Central Sight Services in partnership with First Community Foundation Partnership is pleased to announce its new renovation of Low Vision Solution restrooms. Featuring extra wide doors and high contrast fixtures, walls and floors, the restrooms provide people with low vision and other disabilities, an easily accessible space. NCSS with the help of FCFP, continue to improve the lives and working environment of people with disabilities in Lycoming County.
Part of NCSS’ mission is to create sustainable, person-centered employment. This renovation will let our employees with visual impairments, know that their needs are being recognized, acknowledged, and met. Our mission is also to foster positive change, awareness and advocacy while removing barriers. Updating our facility is a positive change that shows our employees with visual or physical disabilities that we are aware of their needs and are working to remove any and all barriers possible while they are employed at North Central Sight Services.
Help Protect Your Eyes, Help Prevent Injuries.
Eye injuries are a common cause of blindness. Many of these injuries are a result of sports-related activities. It is unfortunate, but many eye injuries are serious and can result in a loss of sight. A simple but important way to avoid these injuries is by wearing protective eyewear. Protective eyewear will help keep eyes safe from flying objects, elbows, fingers, weather related airborne objects or other possible environmental hazards.
Think the risk of an eye injury is not serious? Below are some facts that may change your mind.
- Emergency rooms treat more than 40,000 eye injuries annually as a result from sports related injuries.
- Racquetballs can reach upwards of 200 mph in competitive play while tennis and badminton objects can go 60 mph or more during competitions.
- Many sports involve rackets and swinging objects at high rates of speed in confined places or close, person-to-person contact. These activities lead to encounters and interactions that will result in injuries. Many of these injuries are in the facial area due to the contact and support being played.
Sports eyewear does not have the same qualities or characteristics as regular eyeglasses or other everyday worn eyewear. Sports eyewear is specifically designed to suit the needs of each individual sport. Many of them are designed to fit while wearing helmets when playing football, baseball, hockey or other activities such as biking.
Protective lenses are manufactured from polycarbonate. This is a durable and impact resistant material made with full UV protection. The frames are usually designed with the same polycarbonate or impact resistant plastic. They come with rubber padding on the areas that connect to your face. Depending upon the style, some contour and wrap around the face which provides complete and secure coverage.
It is important to have proper sizing and well-fitting eyewear for the individual. There is no one size fits all when it comes to protective eyewear, especially for sports activities. Eyewear that is too large or too small will not only affect the individual and their performance but will likely discourage the individual from wearing the eyewear all together. Eyewear, especially for children, should be assessed every year.
North Central Sight Services, Inc. will host a one day camp at Camp Victory…a special camp for special kids on June 2, 2023 from 8:00AM – 3:30PM. We are looking for participants that have visual impairments and want to enjoy a camp experience!
Join us to spend the day completing arts and crafts, enjoying the Nature Center, a ropes course (zipline, challenge course) and swimming. Breakfast and lunch will be provided.
This is a great opportunity for your child to socialize, make new friends, participate in new challenges, and develop skills and memories that will last a lifetime!
To register, please fill out this Camp Kaleidoscope Registration Form and return it to Noah Mantione at NoahM@ncsight.org or by mail to 2121 Reach Road Williamsport PA 17701 by May 22nd.
Camp KALEIDOSCOPE will take place at Camp Victory located at 58 Camp Victory Road, Millville PA. Visit our event page on Facebook for more information.