You need to use your phone’s flashlight to make out the menu in a restaurant, not to mention a pair of readers. Or, perhaps you joke that your arms need to be longer in order to read. These are perfectly natural signs of aging eyes.
More seriously, more than 3.4 million people aged 40 and older in the United States are either legally blind or have impaired vision that requires correction.
While aging does make you more vulnerable to eye disease and vision issues, there are steps that you can take to delay or prevent these outcomes. Here, Dr. Curtis Frank and our team at Vision and Ortho-K have pulled together five tips that will go a long way toward preserving your vision.
1. Keep up with your eye exams
After the age of 40, it’s more important than ever to continue with your annual eye exams with us, during which we can not only track your vision, but whether an eye disease is developing.
Some of the eye diseases we’re on the lookout for include:
- Age-related macular degeneration
- Diabetic retinopathy
By tracking your eye health annually, we can catch the early signs of these issues. This is important because we can recommend steps that will help slow the progression of these potentially vision-robbing diseases.
2. Know your family history
Like many health conditions, family history is important when it comes to your eyes. For example, your risk for glaucoma is 4-9 times higher if you have a family history of the eye disease.
If you know that certain family members have had eye issues, please share this information with us so that we can be extra vigilant about monitoring for early signs.
3. Use sun protection
Just like your skin, your eyes can be damaged by the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays, so we urge you to wear sunglasses on bright days. Be sure that the lenses offer UV protection and that they’re polarized, which can help with glare.
4. Eat for eye health
Many of the foods that promote overall health also support your eye health. For example, dark, leafy greens are great for your eyes, as are foods that contain omega-3 fats, such as fish. Orange foods, such as carrots and sweet potatoes, also support eye health.
For a more comprehensive list of foods that boost eye health, click here.
5. Quit smoking
There are so many reasons why smoking is bad for you, and damage to your eyes is included on this long list. Smoking increases your risk for age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, and optic nerve damage.
While it may be impossible to prevent all age-related vision issues, taking a few preventive steps can go a long way toward minimizing or slowing the damage.
If you have more questions about how to preserve your vision as you age, we’re happy to help. To get started, please schedule an appointment at one of our offices in Boston or Newton Upper Falls, Massachusetts.