As you age and go through life, your body will go through various changes, and your eyes are no exception. In the US alone, more than one-quarter of Americans aged 71 years and older have impaired vision. This is why taking proactive steps to safeguard your eye health becomes paramount as you age. Read on to explore the practical ways how to prioritize your vision health in your senior years.
Get regular eye check-ups
Going to a regular eye check-up is the first rule to follow in eye care. For as little as 30 minutes to an hour, these eye exams assess overall eye health, making way for quick interventions like updating your prescription, testing visual acuity, and looking over affordable options for vision correction. These exams can also spot serious chronic conditions, such as age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy, which may not have noticeable symptoms in their early stages. For people who are 55 years or over, the general rule of thumb is to get a comprehensive eye exam every 1-3 years. Once you go over 65 years, the eye exam frequency should be at least every 1 to 2 years.
Establish an eye-healthy diet
Aside from routine eye checkups, maintaining a balanced and nutrient-rich diet is essential for your eyesight. While it can’t fully restore your 20/20 vision, a mindful daily menu can shield your eyes from preventable vision issues. This is especially valuable as a well-rounded diet with a focus on eye wellness can even address vision issues from chronic conditions. For instance, the CDC suggests that 90% of vision loss from diabetes can be stopped early on. It should be noted that over 80% of seniors aged 65 and older have at least one chronic health condition. Foods like leafy greens, colorful fruits, and fatty fish are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that support your eye health. These nutrients also protect your eyes from oxidative damage and the effects of aging, reducing the risk of age-related issues like cataracts.
Manage screen use
A study from Pew Research Center showed that at least 75% of those who are 65 and older have increased their screen time. This can lead to digital eye strain, dry eye, and other related problems. To mitigate these health effects, try following the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and focus on something 20 feet away. Additionally, you can adjust screen settings to reduce glare and consider using blue light filters to reduce eye strain when using digital screens at night. Lastly, keep your screen time limited to less than two hours per day, leaving more room for physical activities instead.
Maintain physical fitness
Speaking of physical activities, they also positively impact your eye health. With consistent physical activity, you can promote blood circulation in your eyes, reducing the risk of overgrown blood vessels, a common effect that occurs in eye conditions like age-related macular degeneration. A study from the University of California also suggested that adults who engage in regular exercise have a lower risk of developing glaucoma compared to those who don’t work out. For at least 150 minutes of moderate activity per week, senior adults can get the benefits of working out. Because aging can affect how one approaches exercise, it may be useful to undergo regular physical fitness evaluations that can check factors like stamina and physical independence. With these in mind, you and a fitness expert can create a tailored wellness program.
Prioritizing your vision health as you age empowers you to enjoy life to the fullest. By following these actionable tips, you can maintain good vision throughout your aging journey. Remember, your eyes are irreplaceable, so take care of them, and they will serve you well even in your golden years.
Article written by Sophia Emma exclusively for Lifestyle.org!
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