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Atrium Health Navicent Physicians Urge You to Protect Your Vision this Summer

When planning summer activities, doctors at Atrium Health Navicent Ophthalmology Macon want you to protect your vision while having fun in the sunshine. In recognition of National Cataract Awareness Month, doctors remind the community to make eye care a priority.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cataracts are the leading cause of blindness worldwide and the leading cause of vision loss in the United States. An estimated 20.5 million Americans ages 40 and older have a cataract in one or both eyes.

Cataracts form when protein deposits build within the eye’s lens. Though they often develop naturally during the aging process, people of all ages may minimize their risk for cataracts by protecting their eyes from the sun by wearing sunglasses with ultraviolet radiation (UV) protection. According to the CDC, the sun's UV rays not only damage exposed skin but eyes as well.

When choosing sunglasses, read the label. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, people should choose glasses that block 99 to 100 percent of all UVA and UVB light. Polarized and darkened lenses do not equate to UV protection. Lenses should screen out 75 to 90 percent of visible light, and should fit the face properly with frames that are close to the eyes.

Other health and wellness guidelines to prevent cataracts include:

• Eating a diet rich in beneficial nutrients, including Vitamin C

• Quitting smoking, and minimizing alcohol intake

• Keeping diabetes under control

• Getting a dilated eye exam, which should be done every two years if you are over 60

“Maintaining a healthy lifestyle may reduce the chances of an individual developing cataracts. The most important thing people can do is schedule regular eye exams, so if any problems develop, they can be detected early,” said Dr. Monali Sakhalkar, an Atrium Health Navicent Ophthalmology Macon ophthalmologist.

While regular eye exams may be scheduled at Atrium Health Navicent Ophthalmology Macon, the practice also offers procedures to treat patients suffering from impaired vision due to cataracts. While not all cataracts require surgery, one should consider surgery if impaired vision hinders independence, affects job performance, inhibits safe driving or causes difficulty reading or watching television.

If you or a loved one has an eye health concern or needs to schedule a checkup, Atrium Health Navicent Ophthalmology Macon is here to help. Visit navicenthealth.org/op or schedule an appointment at 478-633-8033.

About Atrium Health Navicent

Atrium Health Navicent is the leading provider of healthcare in central and south Georgia and is committed to its mission of elevating health and wellbeing through compassionate care. Atrium Health Navicent provides high-quality, personalized care in 53 specialties at more than 50 facilities throughout the region. As part of the largest, integrated, nonprofit health system in the Southeast, it is also able to tap into some of the nation’s leading medical experts and specialists with Atrium Health, allowing it to provide the best care close to home – including advanced innovations in virtual medicine and care. Throughout its 125-year history in the community, Atrium Health Navicent has remained dedicated to enhancing health and wellness for individuals throughout the region through nationally recognized quality care, community health initiatives and collaborative partnerships. It is also one of the leading teaching hospitals in the region, helping to ensure viability for rural health care for the next generation. For more information, please visit www.NavicentHealth.org.