New Year’s Resolutions

We’re half way into the first month of January and many of us have already broken our resolutions.  According to an online pole on the most popular resolution for 2011 was losing weight.  This resolution always seems to lead the pack and from what I’ve seen at the gym there are many who are pursuing this resolution locally.  Here’s the full list from that survey:

Most Popular New Year’s Resolutions of 2011
1. Lose weight (1,057 votes)
2. Be happy (684 votes)
3. Save money (636 votes)
4. Fall in love (554 votes)
5. Get a job (515 votes)
6. Read more (433 votes)
7. Eat, drink, try or learn something new (378 votes)
8. Quit Smoking (345 votes)
9. Take a photo every day for a year (266 votes)
10. Run a marathon (255 votes)

I’ve been thinking about eye care resolutions as well.  We see lots of patients who have problems that result from bad habits.  Unfortunately, they all seem to have to learn on their own but here’s your chance to learn from their mistakes. 

Eye care resolution 1 – If you wear contact lenses, clean and replace them properly.

Replacement cycles vary by lens and are sometimes adjusted based on your unique situation by your doctor.  Wearing contact lenses longer than what is approved increases opportunities for complications.  These complications range from inconvenient periods of being unable to wear contacts to vision threatening eye infections.  Proper cleaning of your lenses is essential for the same reason.  Be sure to use the solution your doctor recommended and to follow the package directions.  Always clean your contacts immediately after removal and use fresh solution.  Never “top off” solution by adding fresh solution to used solution.

Eye care resolution 2 – Contact lens wearers need backup eyeglasses

If contact lens wearers develop any redness or discomfort we recommend that they remove the lenses immediately.  Often this is enough to avert problems but occasionally these patients will go on to develop an eye infection that needs treatment.  Those who do not have backup eyeglasses are much less likely to remove their lenses when problems are beginning as they cannot function without correction.  When an eye infection occurs contact lens wearers are typically out of their contacts for a week or more so they are forced into wearing old eyeglasses that may be several prescriptions old or they may have to purchase a pair and pay for rush delivery. 

Eye care resolution 3 – Don’t wait to see if it gets better on Fridays

There seems to be a direct relationship between eye problems and Fridays (or days before holidays for that matter).  If you seem to be developing a problem with your eyes that includes flashes of light, new onset floaters, curtains in your vision, loss of vision, or pain these should be evaluated immediately.  Waiting over the weekend isn’t a good plan.  All of these symptoms can be associated with problems that deserve immediate attention to prevent loss of vision.  Eye infections can clear up on their own but often leaving them untreated increases the opportunity for it to spread to the fellow eye or to friends or family.

Eye care resolution 4 – Wear safety glasses

Most people recognize the importance of wearing safety glasses when they have a job in an industrial setting or even when they are working with power tools around the house.  We regularly see injuries from mowing or operating a weed eater also.  Any time there is a risk of high speed particles be sure and wear safety glasses. 

Eye care resolution 5 – Observe proper visual hygiene

Visual hygiene is a fancy term for following all of your mother’s instructions when it comes to vision.  Use adequate lighting, don’t sit too close to the television, look up occasionally when reading, and use good posture on the computer.  Mom had these things right.  Take care of your eyes and they will take care of you.

So on January 14th I challenge you to add these resolutions to your list.  Maybe you can even come up with some other resolutions like controlling your risk factors for diabetes and high blood pressure.  I think I’ll add a resolution to come up with New Year’s resolutions before January 14th.

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