Do you know how to protect your eyesight? As you age, taking care of your eyes is an essential part of your overall health care. In fact, it’s one of the most important things you can do to maintain your quality of life. Plus, protecting your eyesight is a relatively easy process. Take the necessary steps now to help prevent sight loss and other age-related eye conditions.
How to Protect Your Eyesight
The leading causes of blindness and low vision in the United States are age-related diseases, such as macular degeneration, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma (source). However, eating well, exercising, shielding your eyes, reducing your TV time, and getting a regular eye exam can help protect your eyesight from degeneration. The sooner you start, the better! Incorporate our tips on how to protect your eyesight to significantly reduce your risk of vision loss.
Know If You Are at Risk
The first step in protecting your eyesight is knowing whether or not you are at risk. Did you know that your family’s health history can actually impact your eyes? If you have a family history of diabetes or high-blood pressure, are over the age of 65, or are an African American over the age of 40, you might be at risk. An early diagnosis can limit vision loss and help safeguard your eyesight, so we encourage you to see your eye doctor at least every two years. If you don’t currently have an optometrist, ask your general practitioner for a recommendation, or ask your family members about their preferred eye specialists.
Learn the Warning Signs
You should make an appointment with your eye doctor any time you notice changes in your vision. If you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms, see your doctor immediately:
- Double vision
- Hazy vision
- Trouble seeing in low light
- Frequent flashes of light
- Eye pain and swelling
These symptoms could signal a more serious condition and should be taken seriously.
Eat Well and Get Moving
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), eating right and exercising can help keep your eyes healthy. Specifically, foods rich in vitamins A, C, and E are the most helpful for your eyes and are good for your overall health. Vitamins C and E can even help prevent eye diseases like cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. Adding these foods to your diet could help protect your eyes:
- Vitamin C is found in most fruits and vegetables, especially oranges, grapefruit, strawberries, papaya, green peppers, and tomatoes.
- Vitamin E is stored in fat and can be found in vegetable oils, nuts, wheat germ, and sunflower seeds.
When it comes to exercise, did you know that aerobics could benefit your eye health? Aerobic exercise, like swimming or power walking, increases your blood circulation and oxygen intake, which is good for your vision. Plus, it helps keep your weight in check, which reduces your risk for diabetes and its effect on your eyes. AAO suggests sustaining an activity that increases your heart rate (and can keep it up) for 20 minutes.
Shield Your Eyes
Too much sun exposure can damage your eyes at any time of year, even through cloud cover (source). Protect yourself with high-quality sunglasses and a broad-brimmed hat. Your eyes will thank you. Additionally, wear protective goggles or safety glasses anytime you perform activities like yard work, woodworking, painting, and similar endeavors. This will prevent debris from getting in your eyes and causing damage.
Reduce TV and Computer Time
Staring at a television, computer, or phone screen for too long can cause eyestrain, blurry vision, trouble focusing at a distance, dry eyes, and headaches (source). To prevent this, make sure your glasses are up to date. Also, be sure to rest your eyes every 20 minutes and focus your eyes on something far away from the screen. If you can, it’s best to get up and move every two hours. Finally, if your eyes start to dry out, blink more. Letting your eyes rest can do wonders for your vision in the long term.
If you want to know more about how to protect your eyesight, contact your doctor. He or she will be able to lead you in the right direction for healthier eyes. In addition, take a moment to explore our blog post about common eye problems of the elderly.
At Hearthside Senior Living Place, we believe taking care of your health is vital to a long, fulfilling life. That’s why our retirement communities were designed with your health, independence, and happiness in mind. Check out our comprehensive health and wellness program. Each community’s nursing department is headed up by a Director of Health and Wellness. For more information, contact us online.