Some people may think that there’s nothing they can do to prevent poor vision as they age but that’s not completely true. While your eyes may change to some extent, you can put a plan in place to keep them healthy. Generally, this plan includes maintaining a particular lifestyle and keeping in touch with your doctor but let’s look at a few details.
1. Get Your Eyes Checked Regularly
In many cases, the symptoms of eye conditions develop slowly over time. By seeing an eye doctor regularly, they can keep track of how your vision might be changing.
As you age you’re more prone to develop conditions like cataracts, glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration (AMD), and corneal disease but they can all be managed when detected early.
Doctors recommend having your eyes checked every 2 to 4 years if you’re between the ages of 40 and 54. From 55 to 64, you should go in every 1 to 3 years. By the age of 65, you should see your eye doctor annually.
2. Manage Your Chronic Illnesses Well
Older adults have a higher chance of developing diabetes and high blood pressure as well. This is especially true for Blacks. If these diseases aren’t managed properly, they can adversely affect the eyes and sometimes cause permanent damage.
Diabetics can develop diabetic retinopathy, a condition in which high blood sugar levels affect the retina. When left untreated, it usually leads to blindness. Unchecked high blood pressure can damage the blood vessels that lead to the eye and cause blurry vision.
3. Eat A Healthy Diet
Studies show that having a diet that’s high in certain nutrients can do wonders for maintaining healthy vision. You should look out for foods that contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, lutein, and zeaxanthin, as well as Vitamins A, C, and E.
Some of the foods that you can include in your diet are salmon, oranges, kale, black-eyed peas, carrots, cantaloupes, sweet potatoes, spinach, kiwis, strawberries, papayas, red bell peppers, broccoli, and squash.
4. Get Regular Exercise
When it comes to your vision, the benefits of regular exercise are two-fold. Being physically active increases blood flow all around the body, which includes the eyes. Good blood flow to the eyes typically means improved vision overall. Exercising also helps you maintain a healthy weight, which is imperative for people who are already dealing with diabetes and high blood pressure.
5. Stop Smoking
According to recent studies, smoking increases your risk of developing certain eye conditions such as AMD, cataracts, and glaucoma. The toxins in cigarette smoke also affect the heart, which in turn can lead to other chronic illnesses that might damage your vision. If you anticipate that it will be hard for you to quit, then talk to your doctor about helpful aids that can keep you on track.
6. Protect Your Eyes
Finally, you must protect your eyes from external factors that can damage them. These factors include sunlight, too much screen time, and poor lighting. Too much exposure to the sun can damage the eye’s tissues, cornea, and lens so make sure to wear sunglasses when going outside.
It’s also best to limit your screen time so your eyes get a chance to relax. Experts recommend taking a 30-second break for every 20 minutes of screen time. If you’re always reading in poor lighting, you run the risk of straining your eyes. Make sure you have adequate lighting for reading at all times.
When You Need To See A Doctor
Apart from having your eyes checked regularly, you need to be aware of signs that something is going wrong with your eyes. These changes can be related to an existing illness or it can mean that something else has caused damage to your eyes. If you have sudden blurriness or poor vision, flashes of light, pain in the eye, double or tunnel vision, redness in the eye, or swelling around the eye, you should contact your doctor immediately. Some of these problems can affect your vision permanently so it’s best to get them dealt with quickly.
You can’t stop the physical changes your eyes go through as you get older but implementing the techniques listed here can certainly help you maintain healthy vision. If you keep healthy and communicate well with your doctor, your eyes should be well taken care of.