4 Tips for Healthy Vision as We Age

Everything changes as you get older; physical ability, mental acuity and eyesight all succumb, in some form or another, to the aging process. Eyes, in particular though, are vulnerable to the aging process and may develop one or more age-related conditions, such as presbyopia, floaters, glaucoma, dry eyes, macular degeneration, cataracts and temporal arteritis. These conditions aren’t always unavoidable, however. There are things that can be done to slow them down or ward them off completely.

Proper eye care can help delay the progression of age-related eye conditions and protect vision. In addition to knowing your family history and getting regular eye exams, it may help to block the sun and other damaging light, keep eyes hydrated and eat foods that will improve their health. Let's look at what we can do.

Avoid the Sun

The sun damages eyes much the same way it damages skin—and it is cumulative. Prolonged or repeated sun exposure causes cellular changes that can lead to common eye conditions, such as corneal sunburn, cataracts, macular degeneration and cancer. For this reason, we recommend that people always protect their eyes from the sun with sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays.

Similarly, blue light emitted from lightbulbs and devices can prematurely age the eyes. Reduce exposure to blue light by using a screen filter or wearing computer glasses.

Eat the Right Foods

Eat the right foods can dramatically improve eye health and ward off unwanted age-related complications. For example, eating kale protects eye tissues from sunlight. Of course, we should all still wear sunglasses, but the lutein and beta carotene found in kale can go a long way in preventing sun damage. Carrots and butternut squash are other good sources of beta carotene. Didn't we always know that carrots were good for our eyes? That's not an old wives tale!Sweet potatoes may also slow down the progress of macular degeneration; strawberries may ward off cataracts; and green tea is a great way to wash them down as it may do both of those things.

Eye Hydration

Eyes are made of 95% water. This is why adequate hydration is so important for avoiding eye complications. Not only does hydration keep eye tissues healthy, but it also protects eyes from infection and delivers vital oxygen and nutrients to the outside of eyes. To keep eyes perfectly hydrated: drink plenty of water, use lubricating drops, cut back on eye strain and avoid allergens.

Get Regular Exams

A thorough family history can tell reveal a lot about the conditions and diseases eyes may face in the future. Talk it over with an eye doctor to learn which are the most likely candidates and how to strategize their prevention.

Of course, we should all get regular exams as this can uncover problems before they become huge issues. Since many eye issues appear after the age of 40, it helps to step up eye exam strategies at that time with regular dilated eye exams. A good eye doctor will determine how often exams are needed based on the issues and risk factors at hand.

Taking care of our eyes may seem challenging and a little intimidating, but if we make the effort to protect our sight, our future selves will surely thank us as we prevent or stave off some of the more troublesome age-related eye complications. While we may not be able to avoid the more common and/or inevitable conditions altogether, we can hope to enjoy great eyesight for many years to come.

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2/5/2023 5:00:00 AM
Wellness Editor
Written by Wellness Editor
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