Heathy Eyes for Your Best Possible Tulip Time Experience

by | Apr 30, 2018

Tulip Time 2018 is a little over a week away at this point. Of course, you’re reading the blog for a Zeeland optometrist practice, so the odds are pretty decent you live in the area and are already well-aware of that fact.

(And if you don’t happen to live in West Michigan—perhaps you’re one of the many visitors who come into town for Tulip Time—but are experiencing eye or vision issues, we’ll still be glad to diagnose the problem and create a treatment plan to resolve it for you!)

Even if you’re from Holland, though, there are bound to be things about this nationally-recognized festival you might not know.

For example, the many tulips growing along the streets of the city every year are rather difficult to miss, but were you aware that there are over 5 million of them?

From a cultural standpoint, the flowers themselves are certainly meaningful (given the city of Holland’s close connection to the Netherlands).

More than that, they’re quite aesthetically pleasing – which is kind of the point. After all, the festival’s roots go back to a community beautification project conceived in 1927.

Tulip Time

See, we’re talking about Tulip Time today not only because it’s right around the corner, but also because it got us thinking about your eye health and everything you could miss out on during this wonderful event if you were to develop any kind of vision-related problems.

Actually seeing the beautiful tulips lining the city streets is definitely part of that!

Eye Health, Diabetes, and Tulip Time Food

When we speak about vision-related problems, a major concern is diabetes – which has become a huge medical issue here in the US.

In fact, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that almost one in ten citizens are diabetic. That is bad enough in and of itself, but the problem is compounded by the fact that over 80 million more Americans are considered “prediabetic.” Those individuals are essentially at the cusp of the disease, even though their elevated blood sugar levels aren’t quite high enough to be considered full-blown diabetes.

Essentially, prediabetes means the disease is virtually imminent if changes aren’t made, and this highlights the importance of awareness and informational campaigns.

So why is diabetes considered to be so concerning?

Well, too much sugar (glucose) in the blood stream contributes to systemic damage. Body systems that are affected include the circulatory, immune, and nervous systems.

More specifically, diabetes contributes to inadequate blood flow, an immune system that cannot effectively fight off disease, and damage to nerve tissue throughout the body. These all contributed to an increased risk for heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure, and even blindness.

Your eyes, as is the case with all body organs, relies on healthy blood flow and nerve functioning in order to perform their job – enabling you to see. The systemic, diabetic damage takes that away.

That broad overview—it’s actually a bit more technical—is hopefully easy enough to understand, but how does diabetes relate to Tulip Time?

Anyone who has ever attended the festival—and especially those who’ve spent time on Eighth Street during it—knows that one of the most distinct sensory experience from the event is the smell of deep-friend carnival food wafting through the air.

Tulip Time Festival Food

Now, depending on your inclinations towards such food, this can either be a source of nausea or temptation.

If you want to enjoy an occasional elephant ear (or other such festival staple), we certainly won’t begrudge you doing so. That said, if your usual dietary habits have you on the cusp of diabetes—or pushed you completely into a full-blown case of the disease—you should pass on the sweet treats.

Protecting Your Eyes During the Daytime Events

Every year, we always hope for the best possible weather during Tulip Time. Does it always happen? Of course not – this is West Michigan!

It would be ideal if all the festival days were sunny, but we especially want this for the parades—the Volksparade, Kinderparade, and Muziekparade—scheduled for May 9, 10, and 12 (respectively). If you are attending any of them and the sun is shining at full strength, it is important to make sure you are taking measures to protect your eyes.

This might feel like a catch-22 situation—if you don’t spend time in the sun, your body doesn’t produce enough vitamin D, but the UV light puts you at risk for eye problems—but sunglasses that offer 100% UV protection can keep your eyes comfortable.

(If you want to make sure you choose sunglasses that actually provide adequate protection, come see us and check out the fashionable and functional selections we offer at The Sight Optical Shop!)


Further, wearing a sun visor or wide-brimmed hat will provide additional protection – and give you more opportunity to make a fashion statement while walking around at Tulip Time!

So Many Reasons to Want Healthy Eyes for Tulip Time

To this point, we’ve mentioned the tulips—how could we not?—and parades, both of which are definitely visual experiences you don’t want to miss out on, but there’s so much more at Tulip Time!

For example, one of the highlights for many local residents is the Tulip Time Fireworks – being held this year on May 12 at Kollen Park (as long as the weather is cooperative).

If you are having vision problems courtesy of diabetes, a cataract, glaucoma, or any other root cause, you would absolutely miss out on seeing all the bright, vivid colors light up the night sky. Sure, you could still hear the loud explosions—along with the ooh’s and ah’s from the crowd—but that’s not even close to being the same.

You would also be able to hear the traditional music, but miss out seeing everyone in their authentic Dutch costumes. In the same spirit, it’d be difficult not to hear the wooden shoes clomping on the ground—especially during the Dutch dancing—but you couldn’t appreciate the expert craftmanship put into carefully creating each pair.

For those who are drawn to more thrill-seeking endeavors, you could certainly still feel the physical forces on the rides at the Civic Center parking lot if you have impaired vision. It wouldn’t be the same exciting experience, though, without being able to see how high up you are!

Effective Eye Care and Treatment in West Michigan

When your eyes are functioning as intended, and you are able to see with clear vision, it can be easy to take them for granted.

If you spend some time thinking about what you would miss out on—whether at Tulip Time or anywhere else—you’ll quickly realize why it’s so important to take care of them. And part of this is addressing problems at the earliest opportunity!

In the event you (or any of your loved ones) are starting to have any eye-related issues or difficulty seeing like you used to, come see us here at Sight Eye Clinic. Our team consistently provides accurate diagnoses and effective treatment for patients in Holland, Zeeland, and all across our West Michigan communities.

Find out how we can help you by calling (616) 772-2020 and requesting your appointment today.