The quality of our vision naturally declines as we get older. Eye problems from aging may reduce one’s quality of life, lead one to lose one’s independence, and may raise one’s chance of falling and being injured.
Among Americans aged 60 and above, vision impairment now affects almost 20% of the population. The good thing is that you can take measures to safeguard your aging eyes and maintain your eye health. As we celebrate Glaucoma Awareness Month this January, we should consider the importance of good eyesight as we age.
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How to Safeguard Your Eyesight as You Age
Although the genetic tendency to cause eye diseases like glaucoma and macular degeneration is beyond your control, there are steps you may take to lower your vulnerability. To keep your eyes in good shape as you become older, consider the following recommendations:
1) Put On Your Sunglasses
Cataracts are more common in those with a light complexion and blue eyes. Among the first studies to relate UV light to cataract development was conducted at Johns Hopkins in 1998. Exposure to ultraviolet radiation enhances the danger of AMD (Age-related macular degeneration, an eye disease that can blur your central vision). Increased exposure to ultraviolet light alters the metabolic activities of cells in the retina and cornea.
Sunglasses that block 100% of Ultraviolet radiation should be worn outside throughout the day to protect the eyes from potentially damaging rays of the sun. The sun’s ultraviolet radiation may pass through clouds; therefore, eye protection is always recommended, even on cloudy days.
2) Consume More Fluids Regularly
There’s more to dehydration than just being thirsty on a hot day. Signs of severe or chronic dehydration in the eyes are less widely known, even though most individuals are aware of some of the more frequent symptoms of dehydration, such as dry mouth, headaches, and muscular cramps. In the elderly, blurred vision may indicate dehydration due to a lack of tear production caused by dry eyes.
Lack of tears may cause dry, irritated eyes and impaired vision since they are necessary for proper lubrication, comfort, and debris removal in the eyes. Consuming hydrating snacks and electrolyte-rich drinks may help us stay hydrated, but they cannot replace the recommended 6 to 8 glasses of water daily. To learn more about elderly dehydration, you may click this link.
3) Nourish Your Body with Wholesome Foods
According to several studies, there are correlations between eating particular foods and having healthy vision. Sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach, squash, broccoli, and kale are all high in antioxidants, beta-carotene, and lutein. Eating these and other vitamin C-rich fruits and vegetables may reduce your risk of age-related macular degeneration. Increased ocular pressure, which may cause glaucoma, may be mitigated by omega-3 fatty acids.
Omega-3 fatty acids effectively prevent and treat dry eye syndrome, a prevalent condition in which the eyes fail to produce appropriate tears. Redness, irritation, and itching in the eyes are all signs of dry eye syndrome. Strawberries, cranberries, blackberries, and blueberries are also great superfoods for healthy, functioning eyes. Berries are packed with nutritious vitamins and minerals and are particularly beneficial in maintaining eye health.
4) Engage in Regular Physical Activity
It’s surprising, but regular activity, such as jogging or riding an exercise bike, may help your vision. One overlooked aspect of senior eye care is the positive effect that exercise may have on blood flow. Being physically active may reduce your risk of developing some diseases that affect the eyes. Working out might make your symptoms easier to handle, even if you have the disease already.
Seniors who engaged in regular exercises had a 25% reduced risk of developing glaucoma compared to those who didn’t exercise. People with glaucoma who engage in regular physical activity have reduced intraocular pressure and enhanced blood flow to the retina and optic nerve. People with diabetes may benefit from exercise in many ways, including in helping to control their blood sugar levels. It also reduces the likelihood of acquiring complications such as diabetic retinopathy, the primary cause of blindness in people with diabetes.
5) Get Some Rest for Your Eyes
You may get eye strain and weariness if you spend a great deal of time reading, driving, or using digital devices. Short pauses, which give your eyes a chance to rest, are very beneficial if you do heavy visual tasks, such as using a computer or reading a book. If you’ve been looking at a computer or smartphone screen for a long time, the 20-20-20 rule is an excellent method to rest your eyes. Every 20 minutes, you have to look at a distance of 20 feet for 20 seconds.
Although short breaks go a long way in helping your eyes, sometimes it is just not enough. Your body needs regular sleep to function effectively, especially for your eyes. Insufficient sleep may cause a decrease in tear production, which can lead to blurred vision, increased sensitivity to light, and even eyelid spasms. Getting a good night’s sleep is essential for recharging your body and eyes.
6) Make Use of Plenty of Indoor Lights
Light is necessary for the visual perception of our eyes. Although dim lighting is ideal for a candlelit supper, it may be quite taxing on the eyes. If you spend a lot of time inside watching television or reading, you should keep your rooms well-lit. It will make it much easier for the eyes to concentrate and alleviate any eye strain, headaches, or discomfort.
Eye experts believe that illuminating the area surrounding the screen helps lessen eye strain when watching television. This brightness helps decrease visual discomfort, fatigue, and a faster reaction in brain waves to visual cues.
7) Get Rid of Your Smoking Habit
Cigarette smoking is as harmful to your eyes as it is to the rest of your body. Smoking may lead to significant eye disorders that result in vision loss or blindness. People with diabetes are more susceptible to age-related macular degeneration (AMD), cataracts, and diabetic retinopathy when they smoke. If you smoke, the sooner you stop, the better. If you already have AMD, quitting smoking may help to decrease its progression.
8) Keep Up with Your Regular Eye Checkups
Early diagnosis and treatment are essential for preventing permanent damage to eyesight or total blindness. Getting your eyes checked regularly is necessary since correcting your vision may significantly enhance your daily life. Conditions threatening sight, such as cataracts, glaucoma, and age-related macular degeneration, will be easier to detect. Maintaining regular eye examinations enables your ophthalmologist to see issues early on.
The sooner a problem is detected, the more likely treatments will be successful. Most adults should have an eye exam every 2-3 years. People who wear contact lenses should get their vision examined at least once a year. Adults over age 65 should also see their ophthalmologist yearly or every other year for a complete eye exam.
Vision loss associated with aging may be emotionally and physically stressful. However, some of these risks may be mitigated by following the suggestions in this article. Seniors may benefit from several different types of preventative eye care. Although becoming older is inevitable, your eyes may remain in good condition for longer with the help of regular exercise, a nutritious diet, and other beneficial lifestyle changes.
In-Home Care for Seniors With Poor Vision
To assist your loved one in coping with the difficulties of low eyesight, you should be as knowledgeable, helpful, and compassionate as possible. In-home care may provide tremendous assistance. By approaching vision loss as a family matter, you may help your loved one feel supported. If you or an aging family member need in-home caregiving services, Tita Homecare is here to help. Please send us additional information using our online form or call us directly at 1 (818) 700-8959.
DISCLAIMER: The information and other material offered in this blog, website, and related links should not replace medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from your doctor.