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...

RHC-Europe Soldiers compete for Army Best Medic title

Article
1/21/2021
Soldiers in the snow, pulling a sled of materials

Army Sgt. Metcalf and Spc. Galdamez prepare to compete in the 2021 Command Sgt. Maj. Jack L. Clark Jr. U.S. Army Best Medic Competition later in the month at Fort Gordon, Georgia.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness

NH Guantanamo Bay Lt. named as Subspecialty Officer of the Year

Article
1/14/2021
Navy Lt. Ara Gutierrez, Naval Readiness and Training Command Guantanamo Bay, was selected Navy Medicine’s Medical Technology Subspecialty Junior Officer of the Year for 2020.

Gutierrez said she was genuinely surprised and honored to represent medicine’s "hidden profession.”

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness

MHS refractive surgery experts discuss warfighter readiness

Article
1/13/2021
Image of Mr. McCaffery looking at a monitor with an eye on it

Refractive surgery is any surgery that eliminates the need for glasses or contact lenses.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness

DOD Launches “My MilLife Guide” Text Message Program to Boost Wellness

Article
1/11/2021
The new My MilLife Guide program supports the wellness of the military community.

DoD has launched My MilLife Guide, a new program that sends text messages designed to help the military community boost overall wellness while navigating stresses related to COVID-19.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Public Health | Total Force Fitness | Health Readiness

Health literacy focuses on empowering patients to engage in their care

Article
12/30/2020
Medical personnel, wearing a mask, inserting an IV into a patient

How patient-doctor communication improves the health care experience.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Health Literacy Month 2020

AFHSD’s GEIS collect data worldwide to support force protection

Article
12/22/2020
Medical personnel scanning forehead of soldier with thermometer

AFHSD/GEIS continue work with partners across the globe in their efforts to combat COVID-19 and protect military readiness.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health | Coronavirus | Biological Surveillance Tools | Global Health Engagement | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

Fort Irwin & TDP collaborate to improve dental care for families

Article
12/16/2020
Image of a bus with the words "Military Dental Services" on the side

The need for family dentistry at Fort Irwin was the result of losing their network civilian dentist on base last spring.

Recommended Content:

Combat Support | Health Readiness

Deputy defense secretary stresses team approach in battling COVID

Article
12/10/2020
Soldier wearing mask, standing at computer monitors in an office building

The Military Health System has played an important role implementing the National Defense Strategy, Norquist said.

Recommended Content:

MHS Transformation | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Health Readiness

USAMRIID scientist recognized by French for distinguished service

Article
12/4/2020
Two military officers on stage; one handing the other a certificate

Kugelman...identified genetic markers of persistence of the Chikungunya virus.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Research and Innovation | Technology

DGMC medical study looks at plant-based diet

Article
12/3/2020
Man wearing mask and gloves putting container of salad into salad bar

Researchers measured important cholesterol, weight and blood pressure markers at baseline and at 4-weeks.

Recommended Content:

Combat Support | Health Readiness

New report finds military hearing health is improving

Article
12/3/2020
Military doctor inspecting patient's ear

Noise-induced hearing loss is decreasing for active-duty service members.

Recommended Content:

Combat Support | Health Readiness | Hearing Loss | Hearing Center of Excellence Research Coordination Directorate | Hearing Center of Excellence

Seven MTFs recognized by ACS for surgical care

Article
12/3/2020
Military surgeons in an operating room

The MHS hospitals were among 89 recognized facilities and 607 total military and civilian hospitals participating in the program.

Recommended Content:

Combat Support | Health Readiness

Navy Corpsman helps maintain USS Albany readiness

Article
12/2/2020
Soldier wearing a stethoscope on a submarine

Navy Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Matthew Carter is currently serving aboard Albany as an IDC.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness

METC improves surgical tech training with new laparoscopy standard

Article
12/1/2020
Surgical team in operating room

A laparoscopy is a low-risk, non-invasive surgical procedure used to examine organs inside the abdomen and repair or remove tissue.

Recommended Content:

Combat Support | Health Readiness | Research and Innovation | Technology

MSMR Vol. 27 No. 12 - December 2020

Report
12/1/2020

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Cases of coronavirus disease 2019 and comorbidities among Military Health System beneficiaries, 1 January 2020 through 30 September 2020; Characteristics of U.S. Army beneficiary cases of COVID-19 in Europe, 12 March 2020–17 April 2020; Air evacuation of service members for COVID-19 in U.S. Central Command and U.S. European Command from 11 March 2020 through 30 September 2020; SARS-CoV-2 and influenza coinfection in a deployed military setting— Two case reports.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 38

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.