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Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic Gives Tips on Eye Health

Press Releases
May 2, 2018

May is National Healthy Vision Month

TOPPENISH – When it comes to our health, we visit our primary care provider regularly to ensure our bodies are healthy, but eye health is an often overlooked aspect of our health.

During Healthy Vision Month, Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic encourages everyone to make eye health a priority.

Dr. Stephanie Cooper, Optometrist at Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic, says you should get an eye exam every one to two years.

“Eye exams are important, even if you don’t wear glasses,” Dr. Cooper said. “An exam not only checks for what prescription of glasses you may need, but also checks the overall health of the eye,” she said.

Dr. Cooper explained, changes inside the eyes can be related to high blood pressure and diabetes.

Dr. Cooper says people also overlook the importance of wearing sunglasses. With more than 300 sunny days a year, it’s more important for Central Washington residents than they may realize.   

“Your primary care provider will tell you the importance of wearing sunscreen to protect your skin, sunglasses are just as important for your eye health,” she added. 

Dr. Cooper says UV exposure is linked to conditions like macular degeneration and "surfer's eye."

 “Surfer’s eye is a growth on the front of the eye due to sun exposure. It can affect the shape of the eyeball and also block light from coming into the eye,” she added.

In addition to regular check-up appointments with your optometrist, and wearing sunglasses to protect your eyes, there are also foods that enhance and benefit eye health.

Vitamins and antioxidants are found in carrots, bell peppers, green leafy vegetables, and blueberries, and Cooper says these are the best food to eat for your eye health. Foods rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, lutein and beta carotene help repair the eyes. Nutrient-rich foods also aide in other health diagnoses that can affect your vision, such as diabetes and high cholesterol.

Dr. Cooper’s last tip for eye health is limiting screen time exposure.

“When we’re looking at a digital screen, we don’t blink as much as we’re supposed to. This can lead to dry eyes, your vision can go in out of focus, and your eyes will water and burn,” she said.

Dr. Cooper suggests when working at a computer or staring at any digital screen for a long period of time, to remember the 20/20/20 rule. Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break, 20 feet away from your screen.

Nationwide, Dr. Cooper says we are seeing an epidemic of nearsightedness in children. “Excessive screen time and less time outdoors may be contributing to this epidemic,” she added.

Dr. Cooper suggests for optimal eye health, limit kids’ screen time to two hours or less a day, and encourage them to play outside.

Dr. Stephanie Cooper is the optometrist at the Toppenish Medical-Dental Clinic Optometry Clinic in Toppenish. The optometry clinic is the first of its kind in the Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic network of care, and is located at 514 West First Avenue, in Toppenish.

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Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that provides comprehensive medical and social services for more than 149,000 people. We employ 1,482 full-time staff and 705 part-time staff, medical residents, dental residents, administrative fellows, students and volunteers. Facilities: 24 medical clinics, 12 dental clinics, 8 pharmacies, and 59 program sites. Washington locations: Grandview, Granger, Kennewick, Prosser, Pasco, Spokane, Sunnyside, Toppenish, Yakima, Walla Walla, and Wapato. Oregon locations: Astoria, Clatskanie, Hermiston, Newberg, McMinnville, Portland, Salem, and Woodburn. Our Mission: Together we are dedicated to lead, with the courage to care, the determination to promote personal growth, and the compassion to champion the cause of those who have no voice. Visit: www.yvfwc.com