How to Help Take Care of Your Eyesight As You Get Older

older man sitting on the couch, holding his glasses as he squints to read on his iPad

What happens to our eyesight as we get older?

Our eyesight starts to slowly decline in our 40s or 50s, affecting our ability to see clearly and at close distances. This isn't necessarily due to anything we do, it's just another natural part of aging. What happens is the lenses in our eyes become less flexible making it more difficult to focus on close-up objects, impairing our ability to distinguish colors, and making us need more time to adjust to changing levels of light.

 

What are common vision problems?

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of vision loss in people over 65. It affects the central vision and your ability to see fine details. In the advanced stages of AMD, people can lose their ability to drive, see faces, and read small print.

You're more likely to develop AMD if you have a family history of AMD, you smoke, or you have high blood pressure.

Other common vision problems include cataracts, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy.

 

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What can I do to help?

Even though our eyes naturally change as we get older, there are still some things we can do to help take care of our eyesight and promote good eye health.

  • Eat a nutrient-rich diet

Proper nutrition plays a crucial role in maintaining good eye health. Include foods in your diet that are rich in Vitamins A, C, and E and omega-3 fatty acids. Leafy green vegetables, carrots, sweet potatoes, citrus fruits, nuts, seeds, and fatty fish like salmon and tuna are excellent choices.

These nutrients are known to support eye health and protect against age-related eye conditions such as cataracts and macular degeneration.

  • Practice the 20-20-20 rule
If you spend long hours staring at screens, it's important to give your eyes a break. Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and look at something 20 feet away. This can help reduce eye strain and prevent eye fatigue caused by prolonged screen time.
  • Blink frequently
Blinking helps to moisten the eyes and prevents them from becoming dry and irritated. When staring at screens or engaging in other visually demanding tasks, we tend to blink less frequently. Try to make a conscious effort to blink regularly to keep your eyes lubricated and reduce the risk of dry eyes.
  • Wear protective eyewear
If you work in a hazardous environment or engage in sports or recreational activities that could potentially harm your eyes, wearing protective eyewear is crucial. Safety goggles, protective glasses, or sunglasses with UV protection can shield your eyes from dust, debris, harmful chemicals, and UV rays, reducing the risk of eye injuries and protecting against long-term sun damage.
  • Get regular eye exams

Regular comprehensive eye exams are essential for maintaining good eye health. Eye exams can detect any potential issues early on, allowing for prompt treatment and preventing further damage.

Make sure to visit your eye care professional regularly, especially if you have a family history of eye conditions or notice any changes in your vision.

 

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