When asked about what is needed to enjoy a good quality of life, a majority of people list eyesight on their top five needs. Some even say eyesight is the most important of the five senses.
Regardless of what you need to maintain your quality of life, everyone can agree that protecting your eyesight is important. In fact, some form of sight-threatening eye problem affects one in six adults age 45 and older.
Studies show that about 2.5 billion people see poorly but don’t have corrected vision, yet 80 percent of those vision problems are preventable.
Since the leading cause of blindness and low vision in the US are primarily age-related diseases such as macular degeneration, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma, protecting your eyesight as you age is an essential part of your overall health care.
Consider following these simple guidelines to care for your peepers:
Have regular physical exams to check for diabetes and blood pressure.
If left untreated, these diseases can and will cause eye problems. In particular, high blood pressure and diabetes can lead to vision loss from diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration.
Get your eyes checked at least every two years.
Once a year is better. A comprehensive eye exam, including having your pupils dilated, can determine your risk for major eye diseases. This is important because some diseases, such as diabetic retinopathy, have no early warning signs or symptoms. A comprehensive eye exam will also ensure that your contacts or glasses are up to date or that you’re a candidate for laser vision correction.
Look for warning signs of changes in your vision.
If you start noticing any changes in your vision (double vision, blurry vision, difficulty seeing in low-light conditions), see your eye doctor right away.
Sunglasses. Every time. All the time.
When you are outdoors during daylight hours, wear sunglasses to shield your eyes from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. PS – we have a great selection (come check them out).
Eat a healthy and balanced diet.
Numerous studies have shown that antioxidants can possibly reduce the risk of cataracts. Antioxidants are found in colorful fruits and dark green vegetables. Studies also show that eating fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids may reduce your risk of developing macular degeneration.
Exercise more frequently.
Really? Actually, yes. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, some studies suggest that regular exercise can reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration by up to 70 percent. So, lace up those sneakers and get going!
There is nothing healthy about smoking – not for your body and not for your eyes either. When it comes to eye health, people who smoke are at greater risk of developing age-related macular degeneration, cataracts and other eye problems.
Even following all these steps, there is no guarantee of perfect vision for a lifetime. But a commitment to regular eye exams and maintaining a healthy lifestyle will definitely decrease your risk of developing a preventable eye problem that could affect your vision.