With each passing year, we become wiser, more mature, and may even begin to see the world differently—in more ways than one.
It’s true. As your body ages your eyesight changes, making eye health all the more important. These changes can come from environmental factors, lifestyle choices, or it may be hereditary.
You may not notice it at first—but you might start reaching for your glasses more often, have trouble adjusting to glaring lights, or struggle to read in dim lighting. Although all of this is normal, there are ways to help maintain your eye health as you age.
1. Schedule Regular Eye Exams
Everyone, even young children, need regular eye exams. And adults should visit the eye doctor at least once a year.
Eye exams help to spot disease or health issues that may not have obvious symptoms, like glaucoma. Even many non-sight related illnesses—like diabetes, high blood pressure, autoimmune diseases, and some forms of cancer—can be detected during a comprehensive eye exam. And some diseases can be treated more effectively if they’re discovered early.
Along with various tests to measure your vision, eye pressure, and eye coordination, you’ll receive professional, personalized advice. This includes reviewing your family history to determine your risk for eye illnesses and recommendations to keep your eyes healthy and strong.
If it’s been a while since your last visit, call today and make an appointment. And if you’ve had an eye exam recently, go ahead and schedule your next one.
2. Protect Yourself from UV Rays
Few things feel better than spending time out in the sun. But high amounts of sun exposure can be unhealthy. The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can cause oxidative damage to your skin—and your eyes. In large quantities, UV rays may increase your chance of developing cataracts or macular degeneration.
Luckily, there are simple solutions. Wear sunglasses to block UVA and UVB rays, or wear a wide-brim hat and limit the time you spend in direct sunlight—all great ways to protect your eyes while you enjoy the outdoors.
3. Turn Off the Screens
Screens surround us. Televisions, computers, smartphones—all of these devices are part of daily life, but they can create or exacerbate eye health issues if overused.
Eye strain, blurry vision, dry eyes, trouble focusing on distant objects, and headaches are all signs you’ve stared at a screen for too long. If using a computer is vital for work, take an “eyesight break” every 20 minutes—look away from your screen and focus on an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds. And take a 15-minute break every two hours or so to stand up, stretch, and pull your eyes away from the screen.
At home, limit the time you spend in front of your TV or on your smartphone. Instead, go for a walk, call or visit a friend, put a puzzle together, listen to an audio book (reading can also cause eye strain), or go shopping. Give your eyes time to rest.
4. Live a Healthier Life
Of all the ways to protect your eyes as you age, the most important one is to live a healthier life.
Proper nutrition and exercise helps to establish a foundation for overall health. Nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, zinc, and vitamins C and E may help you maintain healthy vision as you age. These nutrients are found in many common foods like leafy green vegetables, salmon, tuna, eggs, nuts, beans, citrus fruits, and many more. Premium nutritional supplements can also add extra nutrition to your diet.
And if you smoke, put out the cigarette. Abundant medical research shows how damaging smoking is to eye health. It’s a daunting proposition for those who’ve tried to quit, but keep at it and ask your doctor for help.
Your eyes are the window to your soul and your connection to the world around you—it’s no surprise so many people will do just about anything to keep them healthy. Take these steps to heart and immerse them into your daily lifestyle. Before you know it, you’ll have several new habits in your arsenal to keep your aging eyes healthy.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.