Eyesight is a valuable gift and one we often take for granted. For a lasting quality of life, it is important to ward off vision problems by protecting your eye health.
One in six adults in their mid-40s and older experience some type of eye problem. With advanced age comes a higher likelihood of vision loss. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to keep your eyesight and overall eye health protected.
Since age-related diseases like glaucoma, cataract, macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy are the leading causes of low eyesight and blindness, comprehensive eye exams at least every two years must be included in your regular health care routine.
Consider the following eye care tips to help protect your eye health and safeguard your vision as you age:
Determine If You Are at a High Risk for Developing Eye Diseases – Know your family health history. Alert your doctor if any relatives have been diagnosed with diabetes, high blood pressure or any eye diseases. You are also at a higher risk for eye problems if you are over 65, or an African American adult, over 40.
Keep Up with Routine Physical Exams – Have your blood pressure tested regularly and checked for diabetes. Health conditions like hypertension and all types of diabetes can lead to eye problems if left untreated. High blood pressure and diabetes types 1& 2 can cause macular degeneration, eye strokes, diabetic retinopathy, and ultimately, vision loss.
Take Note of Vision Changes – See your doctor immediately if you notice signs of eyesight changes. Warning symptoms include hazy or blurry vision, seeing double, and having difficulty focusing in dim light. Signs of more serious eye problems that require immediate medical attention include floaters, pain and swelling, redness, and flashes of light.
Wear Sunglasses Outdoors – Shield your precious peepers from the harsh sun every time you head outside during daylight. If you always wear your shades, you will protect your eyes from 100 percent of the destructive UV rays of the sun. This daily practice can help reduce your risk of developing several eye problems, including cataracts.
Wear Protective Eyewear – Remember to always wear safety goggles when working with power tools and other protective eyewear when playing sports. Protective gear will help you avoid eye injuries that may lead to eye damage and vision loss.
Eat A Diet Rich in Omega 3 Fatty Acids & Antioxidants – A well-balanced, healthy diet packed with colorful antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, and dark leafy greens may reduce your risk of developing cataracts. Research has also shown that the omega-3 fatty acids contained in fish can lower your risk of macular degeneration. To ensure you are getting enough nutrition to support eye health, it is a good idea to add eye vitamins to your balanced diet.
There is no guarantee you will have great eyesight that lasts a lifetime, but you can take steps to decrease your chances of developing eye problems. Getting regular eye exams and making healthy lifestyle choices will increase the odds that you will avoid preventable eye diseases and vision loss.