Palmetto Health recognizes March as Save Your Vision Month

Posted on 3/23/2017

Tips to reduce prolonged exposure to blue light. (Pictured: Lisa Niven, O.D.)

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Our eyes are the windows to our souls, but not just in the literal sense. The health and condition of our eyes also can be used to diagnose diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, glaucoma and other ailments that are related to the condition of our eyes.

To keep your eyes healthy, it is recommended that you get a comprehensive eye exam annually. March is Save Your Vision Month, and Palmetto Health encourages community members to protect their eyes and vision.

“Most people feel like if they can see well that they are fine,” said Lisa Niven, O.D., optometrist with Palmetto Health-USC Medical Group Ophthalmology. “We check for a lot of other diseases. It’s important to know that getting a comprehensive eye exam is more than getting a new eye prescription. It is about your overall health.”

Taking care of your eyes should have the same level of priority as your diet and physical activity. Healthy vision is essential in our daily lives, from driving a car to picking out what you want to eat at a restaurant.

According to a survey by the American Optometric Association (AOA), 88 percent of Americans know that digital devices can negatively affect their vision, but the average American still spends more than seven hours per day looking at their screens.

Here are some tips people can use to protect their eyes and monitor digital screen usage while at home or work:

  • Power down before you turn in: Turn off your digital devices at least one hour before bed.
  • Unplug with the AOA 20-20-20 rule: When you are using any device or computer, make a conscious effort every day to take a 20-second break and look away from the screen, every 20 minutes and view something 20 feet away.
  • Step back: Maintain a comfortable working distance from your digital device by using the zoom feature to see small print and details, rather than bringing the device closer to your eyes.
  • Adjust your device to fit your needs: The AOA recommends reducing the glare by adjusting device settings or using a glare filter to decrease the amount of blue light reflected from the screen.
  • Schedule an appointment: Visit a doctor of optometry to schedule an appointment for a comprehensive eye exam to detect and address vision problems.

For more information about Palmetto Health, visit


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