Keeping your eyes and vision healthy is always important, regardless of your age. But as we get older, maintaining eye health becomes increasingly essential as we are more at risk for a number of age-related eye conditions, such as glaucoma, cataracts, age-related macular degeneration and presbyopia.
On top of this, our eyes and vision also experience more subtle changes as we age. They include dry eye, a normal loss of peripheral vision and a reduced pupil size causing less responsiveness to changes in ambient lighting.
Thankfully, although eye and vision problems become more prevalent as we age, many can be prevented or corrected.
Here are a few things you can do now to ensure that your eyes stay healthy and vision remains clear for years to come.
Good nutrition is as important for your body as it is for your eyes. In fact, the risk for eye problems can often be reduced by paying close attention to what (and how much) you eat.
Consuming a diet with nutrients like omega-3, lutein, vitamins C and E and zinc, can help ward off age-related vision conditions. To give you an idea of the type of foods that have the nutrients you need to keep your eyes healthy, here’s a brief list.
- Green leafy vegetables (kale, spinach, collard greens)
- Root vegetables (sweet potatoes, beets, carrots)
- Nuts and legumes (walnuts, Brazil nuts, lentils)
- Seeds (flax seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds)
- Citrus fruits (oranges, lemons, grapefruits)
- Fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel)
- Meat (beef, chicken breast, pork loin)
Last, but certainly not least, be sure to drink plenty of water!
As we get older, our eyes begin to produce fewer tears. Drinking water lubricates your eyes, allowing them to do everything from produce tears to focus. If not properly hydrated, your eyes lack the fluids necessary to clear out debris with tears, blink comfortably, and see without straining.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Studies have found that people who are overweight and obese are far more likely to develop cataracts than those who are at a healthy weight.
Additionally, other research also suggests that obesity increases the risk of glaucoma, which may likely be due to the effects of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes, as well as the increasing build-up of fluid inside the eye.
Wear Sunglasses (Not Just in Summer!)
Beyond being a cool add-on to virtually any outfit, sunglasses are also a key accessory when it comes to protecting your eyes for years to come.
Excessive exposure to UV rays increases a person’s risk of developing cataracts and could contribute to an earlier onset of cataracts. UV rays can also cause damage to the retina (resulting in blurry vision), lead to some rare forms of cancer inside the eye, and in some very rare cases, lead to tissue growing over the eyeball and a thickening of the tissues around the eye, causing discomfort.
Need help finding out how to pick the right pair of shades to protect your eyes? Check out our brief sunglasses shopping guide for some tips!
Visit Your Eye Doctor Regularly
Of course, one of the absolute best ways to maintain healthy eyes as you age is to get them checked by a qualified eye doctor on a regular basis.
Be sure to get a complete eye exam every one to two years. When caught in an early stage, most eye diseases can be treated. And if you have diabetes, or your family has a history of eye disease, have an eye exam with pupil dilation at least once every year.
Don’t wait for eye conditions to happen or for your vision to deteriorate. These are just some of the things you can do now in order to help maintain good eye health as you age so that you can see clearly for years to come.
At OCLI, we’re dedicated to helping you maintain healthy vision for life. Contact us today to schedule a comprehensive eye exam.