As people age, their vision naturally deteriorates and becomes less effective. What’s more, they are more likely to develop system health issues, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure. These diseases can damage various areas of the body, including the eyes. Poor vision can hinder mobility, which is crucial to staying active and maintaining a good quality of life.
If you’re looking to maintain an active and vibrant lifestyle during your golden years, you’ll need to keep your vision as sharp as possible.
Here are a few eye care tips to improve and maintain good eye health:
1. Undergo Regular Eye Exams
An eye test goes beyond checking whether your glasses are up to date. It also assesses the health of your eyesight.
An eye exam can pick up various diseases, such as the following:
- Glaucoma – This condition refers to a rise in eye pressure, which results in optic nerve damage. Left unchecked and untreated, this disease can lead to tunnel vision and blindness. Depending on your situation, your doctor may ask you to undergo surgical treatment for glaucoma, take oral medications, use prescription eye drops or a combination of these recommendations.
- Cataract – This disease clouds the natural lens of the eye. A common symptom of this cataract is hazy or blurred vision that gradually worsens over time. People with this disease can undergo surgery to restore sight.
- Diabetic Retinopathy – This complication of diabetes slowly damages the retina. People with diabetic retinopathy may experience pain in one or both eyes, become sensitive to glare and have problems reading or seeing at night. Make sure to go through an eye exam if you have diabetes.
2. Follow a Healthy Diet
A simple but powerful step you can take to protect your vision and live a healthy life is to be mindful of the food you consume. When you’re shopping for your weekly meal plans at your local grocery store or supermarket, include the following food in your list:
- Fish – Cold-water fish, such as mackerel, tuna, sardines and salmon, are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which may protect your vision against macular degeneration and dry eyes. If you’re not a fan of seafood, you could take fish oil supplements to get a good supply of omega-3s.
- Eggs – This food contains vitamin A, a nutrient that helps protect against dry eyes. It also contains lutein, which helps promote eye function and health.
- Leafy Green Vegetables – Collard greens, kale and spinach are rich in zeaxanthin, an important plant pigment that helps curtail the development of cataracts.
- Nuts – Almonds, walnuts and pistachios are rich in vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids that improve your eye health.
3. Wear Shades
If you’re going outside on a sunny day to take a stroll, remember to wear the right pair of sunglasses. This stylish accessory will help safeguard your eyes from the ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun. Excess exposure to these harmful rays increases your risk of developing cataracts and macular degeneration.
When buying shades, opt for a pair that blocks at least 99 percent of UVB and UVA rays. Also, buy wraparound lenses to help shield your eyes from the side.
Pro-tip: You should still wear sunglasses even if you’re wearing contact lenses that provide UV protection. The pair of shades you’re wearing offers an extra layer of protection for your eyes.
4. Use Good Indoor Lighting
When you’re in your senior years, your eyes will need more light to see well. Boost the amount of daylight entering your house by pulling back the curtains during the day and keeping your windows spick and span.
Don’t forget to install excellent electric lighting fixtures in your home, especially in the stairs area. This way, you can see the steps clearly and prevent falls.
5. Give Your Eyes a Break
Add frequent breaks into your routine, especially if you regularly work on a computer or watch a lot of TV shows. When your eyes are feeling tired or strained, step away from the TV screen or computer monitor and take a 20-second break every 20 minutes.
6. Quit Smoking
Smoke breaks aren’t just bad for your lungs. They can also result in blindness or vision loss. If you’re still smoking, consider taking steps to kick this unhealthy habit.
7. Work Out Regularly
Hitting the gym regularly does more than just build muscles and help you shed excess pounds. It can improve blood flow. Improved blood circulation is beneficial to the tiny blood vessels in the eyes.
The key to maintaining good vision during your golden years is proactive eye care. Getting old may be inevitable, but positive lifestyle changes, a healthy diet and regular exercise can prolong the health of your eyesight.