How to Maintain Healthy Eyes as You Age
The older you get, the more your doctor emphasizes the importance of eating well and exercising to stay healthy. Good nutrition and physical activity certainly benefit your body, but making specific lifestyle changes can also help delay or prevent age-related eye diseases. Follow these tips to maintain healthy eyes as you age.
Schedule Regular Eye Exams
Annual visits to the eye doctor are recommended for everyone, but once you hit 40, regular eye exams become even more crucial. Yearly visits can help catch glaucoma, macular degeneration and other eye diseases in their early stages, making them easier to treat. Your eye doctor can also detect other non-sight related illnesses during a comprehensive eye exam, including hypertension, diabetes, STDs and some forms of cancer.
Visit the Eye Doctor if You Injure Your Eyes
It isn’t enough to rinse your injured eye under cool water and hope it gets better. If you experience vision problems or eye discomfort at any time, call your eye doctor right away. Receiving professional medical attention is the best way to safeguard your vision.
Protect Your Eyes from Bright Light
Chronic exposure to UV rays and sources of high-energy “blue light” can damage the macula, cornea and lens. To shield your eyes, try these suggestions:
- Wear dark-tinted sunglasses while outside.
- Turn on your computer’s “night light” feature to decrease the amount of blue light the screen emits.
- Wear blue-blocking computer glasses with yellow-tinted lenses.
- Illuminate your home with CFLs and LEDs that emit “warm” light.
Adopt a Healthy Diet
The food you eat doesn’t just affect your waistline – it also contributes to healthy eyes. If you eat a diet high in saturated fat and sugar, you increase your risk of eye disease. On the other hand, eating natural, healthy food can help prevent vision problems. Here’s what to include in your diet to improve eye health as you age:
- Dark green and brightly colored fruits and vegetables for vitamin A, vitamin C, lutein and zeaxanthin
- Fish, nuts and plant-based oil for omega-3 essential fatty acids
- Lean meat, legumes, fish and eggs for protein
- Whole grains to avoid the sugars in refined white flour
- Water and other sugar-free, caffeine-free drinks to stay hydrated
Smoking increases the amount of oxidative stress in your body, which can increase your chances of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD), cataracts and glaucoma. Give up smoking, and you’ll improve nearly every aspect of your health, including your vision.
Get Enough Sleep
Maintaining a healthy sleeping pattern improves your overall well-being. It’s also a chance to rest your eyes and help them rejuvenate for the following day. Aim for at least seven hours of sleep each night. Avoid looking at your Smartphone right before bed, as the blue light of the LED screen can keep you awake.
For more tips to maintain healthy eyes as you age, or to schedule an eye exam in Chicago, IL, please contact Gerstein Eye Institute at 773.596.9545.