One out of every six adults, age 45 and above, have sight-threatening eye problems. The risk of vision loss increases with age. The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) estimates that over 43 million Americans will develop age-related eye diseases by 2020.
Tips for Protecting Your Precious Eyes
To protect your eyesight and stay eye-healthy as you age, follow these basic guides:
- Protection from UV rays. Always wear sunglasses with proper UV protection to shield your eyes from the sun’s rays. This reduces your risk of cataracts and other eye damage.
- Eat healthily balanced meals. Many studies prove that antioxidants can reduce cataract risks. Best antioxidants are obtained from a diet rich with fruits, colorful veggies, and dark green leafy lettuces. Studies prove that eating fish, rich in omega-3 fatty acids, help prevent macular degeneration.
- Exercise more frequently. According to the AAO, studies suggest that regular exercise – such as simple walking – can reduce the risk of macular degeneration by as much as 70%.
- No smoking! The many dangers of smoking are documented. When it comes to eye health, people who smoke are at significantly greater risk of age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.
- Schedule regular exams for diabetes and high blood pressure. Left untreated, these diseases can cause eye problems. Diabetes and high blood pressure can lead to diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration, glaucoma and ocular hypertension.
- Be aware of your latent risks for eye disease. Explore your family health history. Do any family members suffer from diabetes or blood pressure problems? Are you older than 65? Are you an African-American over the age of 40? These are all traits which may increase your risk of sight-threats. Regular eye exams can detect problems which will be used to help preserve your eyesight.
- Be Alert for vision changes. As soon as you notice changes in your vision, schedule a visit with your eye doctor. Trouble signs to watch out for: double vision, hazy vision, difficulty seeing in low light conditions, and any other vision alteration. Other signs may include flashes of light, floaters, and eye pain or swelling. All signs or symptoms may indicate potential eye health problem which need immediate attention.
Have your eyes checked at least every two years including a thorough eye exam with pupil dilation to help detect eye diseases such as diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration or glaucoma which may not have early warning signs or symptoms. A comprehensive eye exam will also ensure that your prescription eyeglasses or lenses are up-to-date.
Following these steps is no forever guarantee of perfect vision. However, maintaining health and a quality lifestyle along with regular eye exams will certainly manage your risk of eye problems to give you the precious eyesight you deserve.