5 Things to Know About Glaucoma

Glaucoma is an eye disease that can lead to permanent vision loss. According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), it’s one of the leading causes of blindness in the United States. And according to the Glaucoma Research Foundation, of the 60 million people in the world that have glaucoma, an estimated half of those people don’t know they have it. With January as Glaucoma Awareness Month, here are five things to learn about the disease. Use this information as a way to start your research and develop knowledge on how this disease can affect you and your family.

Glaucoma usually has no symptoms

The symptoms of glaucoma can vary. What’s frightening is that you could have glaucoma without knowing; it can develop slowly and without pain. There could be no warning signs until you start to notice a loss in your vision. But as much as 40% of your vision can be lost without you noticing. With some forms of the disease, the condition could happen quickly, and there could be symptoms like blurred vision and halos around lights.

Glaucoma can be detected with a comprehensive eye exam

While it’s scary to think that glaucoma can develop without you realizing, remember this disease can be detected with a comprehensive eye exam from your eye doctor. With early detection, there is treatment available that can control the disease and reduce the risk of vision loss. Regular eye exams are so important for detection of this disease because any vision loss from glaucoma is irreversible.

People over the age of 60 are at high risk

If you’re over the age of 60, you have a higher risk of developing glaucoma. Other factors can increase your risk, so talk with your eye doctor and discuss these variables. The most common forms of glaucoma affect older people, but the disease can still affect all age groups. If you have a high risk of glaucoma, it’s extremely important to get a comprehensive eye exam with your eye doctor every one to two years.

Family history increases your risk

According to the AOA, the exact cause of glaucoma is not known. We do know that the condition is “usually associated with an increase in the fluid pressure inside the eye.” We also know that it’s hereditary in some families. Read more about this and other risk factors.

There are different types of glaucoma

While we often might just use the general term glaucoma when referring it, there are different forms of the disease. Primary open-angle glaucoma is the most common. You can learn more about the different types of glaucoma and how they’re different on the Glaucoma Research Foundation website.

Now, with these five things to know about glaucoma, consider your vision health, talk to your family, and make an eye doctor appointment.

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Start the Year With a Plan for Your Vision Health

For the beginning of the year, we thought we’d start with an outlook for your vision health. You can use this plan for the year ahead to keep your eyes, and your family’s eyes, healthy. It’s often the custom on January 1 to start a new perspective or set new goals. Consider making your vision health a part of that.

Review your benefit plan

A good place to start is reviewing your benefit plan. Take note of the coverage for exams, frames and lenses or contacts. There are different plan designs, with different variations, so it’s best to study your plan and call customer service with any questions, or discuss with your vision provider.

Find a vision provider

Maybe you already have an eye doctor, but maybe you’d like to find one closer to home or work, or maybe you want to find a vision provider in the Advantica network. Whatever the reason, if you need to find a vision provider, you can use our provider search tool.

Make an appointment

If you set the time and date, you’ll be more likely to go, right? Now that you have your 2018 calendar in front of you, plan accordingly, and pick days and times that won’t be at risk of a cancellation or postponement.

Begin a routine, commit to the plan

Begin the routine of visiting your eye doctor and getting a comprehensive eye exam. Make it a priority for you and your family. Even if you have good vision, it’s important to have regular comprehensive eye exams. Regular eye exams check eye functions and check for common eye diseases, but they can also detect other health issues like diabetes and high blood pressure. Also, make a resolution to practice good habits for eye health, like eating vegetables, maintaining a healthy weight and not smoking.

We hope this vision health plan will be a good start for your year ahead.

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’Tis the Season for Dental and Vision Health Traditions

At Advantica, we always have your dental and vision health in mind. And that doesn’t stop during the holidays. So we’ve come up with fun and unique ways to incorporate your dental and vision health with new holiday traditions and gift-giving ideas.

Elf on the Shelf can teach good health habits

This popular elf can promote good dental and vision health habits with your kids. He or she can encourage healthy snacking by sitting next to the fruit bowl. Or how about if the elf was wrapped up in dental floss and left a note about flossing daily? The elf can even bring gifts of new toothbrushes and toothpaste.

Sunglasses and other vision wear make great gifts

Sunglasses make a great holiday gift. They should be used in the winter, and it’s a nice reminder of the summer though it may be months away. Other vision wear like swim goggles and computer glasses or blue light blocking eyewear are useful gifts for the kids and entire family. Eyeglass holders come in all sorts of varieties for all personalities, and they’re also a useful gift for your friends.

Bring along a pomegranate

When you go to your holiday parties or family gatherings, instead of arriving with the usual candy and cookies, start a new tradition of arriving with festive fruit. The pomegranate is a symbol for the season and could be a unique surprise. Contributing healthy choices to the array of holiday foods is a good way to keep your overall health, and your dental and vision health, in mind during a season when those priorities might be pushed aside.

Toothbrush in the stocking

Need a stocking stuffer? Toothbrushes will fit in the stockings perfectly. There are fun options available for the kids. And a toothbrush in the stocking will be a good reminder to brush since kids are eating lots of sweets during the holiday. There’s room for floss in there, too.

Holiday sing-a-long while you brush

Already in the holiday spirit? Are you already listening to and singing along to your favorite festive tunes? Great! Now keep doing that while you’re brushing your teeth. Jingle Bells is a great choice to cover the two minutes of brushing you do twice a day. It works as a great reminder for the kids.

Donations

If you’re getting together donations, think about dental and vision health contributions. Consider donating dental health necessities like toothbrushes, toothpaste, mouthwash and floss to your preferred charity. Also consider the gift of vision this year. You can donate your old eyeglasses, reading glasses, frames, and sunglasses or donate to a charity that provides vision care to communities in need.

We love the idea of giving the gift of dental and vision health this season, whether it’s through donations or starting new gift traditions. We wish you happy holidays and bright and healthy smiles in the New Year!

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5 ways to keep your smile healthy this holiday season

Your December calendar is filling up quickly with work celebrations, school concerts, and family and friend gatherings. Despite your busy schedule this time of year, don’t let the season put the health of your smile in jeopardy. I’m going to enjoy the tradition of holiday cookies, and I want you all to enjoy too! Let’s just make sure we don’t skip our twice daily brushing during the frenzy and flurry. Here’s five ways to keep your oral health safe through this sugar-filled season.

When you’re indulging in sweets, enjoy with a meal

When indulging in the holiday cookies and candy, enjoy them with a meal. Choose not to make the sweet treat a stand-alone snack. If you eat with other foods, the foods will stimulate saliva, which will help to wash the harmful sugars away from your teeth and gums.

Drink water after eating candy and cookies

If you’re eating holiday sweets, drink more water. Drinking water will wash away the leftover food in your teeth and mouth. Also, do your best to avoid sugary beverages.

Don’t let your good habits hibernate

It’s the holidays, and it’s fun to celebrate with special foods and treats. Now counterbalance that by keeping up your usual good oral health habits like brushing twice a day for two minutes and flossing daily. It doesn’t hurt to throw in an additional brushing a day with the extra intake of sugar. And even when the holidays are over, and you want to hide away from the cold, don’t let the inactivity mean laziness when taking care of your teeth.

Be prepared with a toothbrush and floss

Since you’re keeping up those good oral health habits, remember to pack your toothbrush and toothpaste when you’re traveling to see family and friends over the holidays. Even though you aren’t in your daily routine at home, keep up the daily habits of brushing and flossing, no matter where you are during the holidays.

Try to limit the snacks

Overall, though there will be lots of temptations put out at work, during your visiting, and all the other special places you may go. Try to stay away from the between-meal snacks like pretzels and crackers. Though the sugar-filled food like cake and cookies are highlighted during the season, snacks like chips and pretzels still contain sugar and starch that can stick to your teeth. Instead reach for the other snack options like carrots, celery, nuts and cheese. Fresh veggies and these other options are a better choice for your smile.

With a few extra precautions this holiday season, you’ll keep your smile healthy and bright for the new year.

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6 Vision Health Reminders for the Winter

As the winter season sets in, here are six reminders about vision health that relate to this time of year.

1 – Make appointments

Check your vision benefits plan and see if your benefits expire at the end of the year. If you’ve already used your benefits this year, look to next year and schedule your family’s eye exams. Remember even if you have good vision, it’s important to have regular comprehensive eye exams. Exams can check for signs of common eye diseases and detect other health issues like diabetes and high blood pressure.

2 – Eat healthy

It can be tough to eat healthy around the holidays. The colder weather can also keep us indoors and inactive. But keep up your smart choices of leafy green and colorful vegetables like spinach and sweet potatoes. Keep your vision health, and overall health, in mind when you’re shopping at the food store or being tempted by all the holiday treats.

3 – Drink water

Sometimes in the colder months, we forget about staying hydrated. We know the importance of staying hydrated for your overall health, but it’s also directly linked to your eye health too. Dehydration can cause eye strain and dry eye.

4 – Quit smoking

According to an article on AllAboutVision.com, people who smoke are “four times more likely to go blind in old age.” We know the harmful effects of smoking on our health, but our vision might not always be considered. Your risk of developing cataracts and age-related macular degeneration also increases if you smoke. You might find the New Year is a good time to start healthy habits, or quit unhealthy ones.

5 – Wear sunglasses

Wearing sunglasses to protect your eyes from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays is important in the winter months. We might not think of it because of the colder temperatures, but the sun’s rays can still damage your eyes in the winter.

6 – Give the gift of vision

The holiday season is synonymous with donation giving, so consider the gift of vision this year. You can donate your old eyeglasses, reading glasses, frames, and sunglasses or donate to a charity that provides vision care to underserved communities and people in need.

The winter season doesn’t have to be cold and dark. Instead make it about giving back to the community, continuing healthy choices, and protecting your vision.

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5 Ways to Keep Your Smile Healthy This Holiday Season

Your December calendar is filling up quickly with work celebrations, school concerts, and family and friend gatherings. Despite your busy schedule this time of year, don’t let the season put the health of your smile in jeopardy. I’m going to enjoy the tradition of holiday cookies, and I want you all to enjoy too! Let’s just make sure we don’t skip our twice daily brushing during the frenzy and flurry. Here’s five ways to keep your oral health safe through this sugar-filled season.

When you’re indulging in sweets, enjoy with a meal

When indulging in the holiday cookies and candy, enjoy them with a meal. Choose not to make the sweet treat a stand-alone snack. If you eat with other foods, the foods will stimulate saliva, which will help to wash the harmful sugars away from your teeth and gums.

Drink water after eating candy and cookies

If you’re eating holiday sweets, drink more water. Drinking water will wash away the leftover food in your teeth and mouth. Also, do your best to avoid sugary beverages.

Don’t let your good habits hibernate

It’s the holidays, and it’s fun to celebrate with special foods and treats. Now counterbalance that by keeping up your usual good oral health habits like brushing twice a day for two minutes and flossing daily. It doesn’t hurt to throw in an additional brushing a day with the extra intake of sugar. And even when the holidays are over, and you want to hide away from the cold, don’t let the inactivity mean laziness when taking care of your teeth.

Be prepared with a toothbrush and floss

Since you’re keeping up those good oral health habits, remember to pack your toothbrush and toothpaste when you’re traveling to see family and friends over the holidays. Even though you aren’t in your daily routine at home, keep up the daily habits of brushing and flossing, no matter where you are during the holidays.

Try to limit the snacks

Overall, though there will be lots of temptations put out at work, during your visiting, and all the other special places you may go. Try to stay away from the between-meal snacks like pretzels and crackers. Though the sugar-filled food like cake and cookies are highlighted during the season, snacks like chips and pretzels still contain sugar and starch that can stick to your teeth. Instead reach for the other snack options like carrots, celery, nuts and cheese. Fresh veggies and these other options are a better choice for your smile.

With a few extra precautions this holiday season, you’ll keep your smile healthy and bright for the new year.

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Did you visit your dentist and eye doctor this year?

Even though this time of year might be busy with holiday plans, make some time to see your dentist and vision care provider. Most dental plans have the benefit deadline of December 31, so be sure to fit in your regular exams and cleanings before the end of the year. Benefit plans differ, so read your plan documents first.

As you look over your dental benefit plan offerings, check to see if you’ve reached your deductible and find out what your annual maximum is. This will help determine which benefits you want to use before the end of the year. As a reminder, your deductible is the amount you have to pay before your benefit plan begins to pay the cost of your treatment. Your annual maximum is the maximum dollar amount a dental plan will pay for care within a benefit period.

For your vision coverage, check your benefit plan offerings for copays, allowances and exam and material frequencies. All plans are different, so check your plan effective date.

It’s about preventive care

Oral health and dental benefits are all about preventive care. That’s why we want you to get to the dentist! Dental benefits work to stop problems before they begin. If you put in the time for preventive care, like visiting your dentist routinely, that can help avoid bigger and more costly problems in the future, like cavities or gum disease.

Vision benefits are similar to dental benefits because they focus on preventive care too. These are benefits you want to use. And just like oral health is an important part of your overall health, your vision health is also connected to your overall health. Make your last dental appointment of the year and fit in your regular comprehensive eye exam with your vision care provider. Remember, even if you have good vision, it’s important to have regular comprehensive eye exams. Exams can check for signs of common eye diseases and detect other health issues like diabetes and high blood pressure.

If you have any questions about your benefits plan, you can sign in to your account or contact us.

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