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Ophthalmology, Navicent Health Says Protect Your Vision this Summer

June Recognized as Cataract Awareness Month

The summer months are a fun-filled and sun-filled time for the whole family to enjoy. In recognition of national Cataract Awareness Month, Ophthalmology, Atrium Health Navicent encourages eye health for the entire family.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cataracts are the leading cause of vision loss in the United States, impacting 17 percent of Americans age 40 and older. 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 following general health and wellness guidelines, including the following:

· Eat a diet rich in beneficial nutrients, including Vitamin C

· Protect your eyes from the sun with sunglasses that block UVA and UVB rays

· Quit smoking, and minimize alcohol intake

· If you have diabetes, keep it under control

· See your eye doctor regularly

"As with many diseases, maintaining a healthy lifestyle may reduce the chances of an individual developing cataracts. One aspect of a healthy lifestyle is scheduling regular eye exams, so if any problems develop, they can be detected early," said Monali Sakhalkar, M.D., ophthalmologist with Ophthalmology, Atrium Health Navicent.

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

"People who develop cataracts do not have to suffer from the visual impairment cataracts bring, At Ophthalmology, Atrium Health Navicent we offer minimally invasive surgical options to remove the affected lens and replace it with an artificial one to restore eyesight," said Dr. Sakhalkar.

Protect delicate 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 (AAO), 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.

"We hope everyone will take the necessary precautions to care for their eyes this summer. Our eyes allow us to experience the world in a unique way, and we need to take every opportunity to care for them," said Dr. Sakhalkar.

If you or a loved one has an eye health concern or need to schedule a checkup, Ophthalmology, Atrium Health Navicent is here to help. Visit our website or schedule an appointment at 478-633-8033.

About Atrium Health Navicent

Atrium Health Navicent, the leading provider of healthcare in central and south Georgia, is committed to its mission of elevating health and wellbeing through compassionate care. Providing more than 1,000 beds and offering care in 53 specialties at more than 50 facilities throughout the region, Atrium Health Navicent provides care for healthcare consumers' through an academic medical center; community, pediatric and rehabilitation hospitals; urgent care centers; physician practices; diagnostic centers; home health; hospice and palliative care; and a life plan community. Atrium Health Navicent is dedicated enhancing health and wellness for individuals throughout the region through nationally-recognized quality care, community health initiatives and collaborative partnerships. For more information, please visit