While talking with patients during the beginning of each comprehensive vision exam, patients are sometimes surprised at some of the questions I ask that don't seem to have a lot to do with the eyes. These are questions such as how much time do you spend in front of the computer?, what type of surgery have you had?, how much do you smoke?, how much exercise do you and your family get?
Depending on the answers, I'll explain why I ask. Some types of surgery, even if they are on seemingly unrelated body parts such as the neck or abdomen, can be for conditions that affect the eyes. Eliminating smoking is one of the best things you can do to preserve your vision as you get older. Exercise not only makes you feel better, but time spent exercising instead of doing activities that cause eye strain (such as computer work or text messaging) can help stop nearsightedness from increasing.
I ask these question because it is my goal to improve a patient's overall health, not just their vision. With this in mind, Bright Eyes Family Vision Care supports worthwhile organizations with similar goals of health. One of these is the YMCA.
At West Park Village we are very lucky to have the West Park Village YMCA Express because it is so convenient. During lunch, I can go use the cardio machines, stretch, lift weights, and (of course) shower before my afternoon patients. I know that many others like to work out at the YMCA too, because almost every day I see patients walk by the office in their work out clothes.
But this isn't new for me; I've always liked the Y. When I was a kid I learned to swim in what seemed like the enormous YMCA swimming pool in Helena, Montana. When I see children in the groups at the Y near my house, it reminds me of the summer groups that I used to go. Now that I have a daughter, we have a family membership and can all go!
With so many activities that Y offers, one can forget the mission that makes it all possible. The core values of the YMCA are Faith, Caring, Honesty, Respect, and Responsibility. I think more organizations could include these ideals within their mission statement and be very successful. If you want to find out more about the YMCA and its philosophy, check it out here.
To me, one of the great purposes of the YMCA is that it supports each of us to become productive citizens. This includes taking charge of our own health. In this day of everything from super-huge servings sizes, drive-through Pharmacies, and 50-hour a week desk jobs, I think we need this more than ever. It is so much easier to stay in shape than to get back into shape. I know it can be hard to make health a priority, but it only takes a small amount of time each day to make it happen.
So maybe I'll see you at the YMCA tomorrow when I go to work out!
Nathan Bonilla-Warford, OD
Bright Eyes Family Vision Care
Located in the Westchase area of Tampa.