We use our eyes every day. That may why most people believe they are knowledgeable about eye care. A recent survey from AARP found that 80% of Americans believe they are knowledgeable about eye health, but when tested, only one in five could prove it. Additionally, two-thirds of adults complain about common vision problems. Yet, less than one-third of adults have seen an eye doctor within five years.
Our eye health is important throughout our entire lives. Yet, it often goes unchecked. Our eyes are one of the areas we are not commonly taught to take care of. This is detrimental as we age, and our eyes naturally worsen.
Luckily there are many things we can do to protect our eyes, especially as we grow older.
Be Aware of Risks
One of the most common vision risks for elderly Americans is blindness. This is due to conditions such as type 2 diabetes, macular degeneration, and cataracts. It is a common misconception that your eyes have to drastically worsen as you get older. Vision does worsen with age, but there are many ways to maintain lifelong eye health.
Seeing a Doctor
Even if you do not need glasses, it is important to see an optometrist or ophthalmologist once a year. Getting an eye exam with a specialist is essential because most eye diseases can be treated when found in early stages. Additionally, routine eye exams can help doctors detect signs of serious health conditions, such as diabetes, brain tumors, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure.
One of the most important parts of our eye health stems from our diet. A healthy diet consisting of omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, zinc, and vitamins C and E can ward off eye aging. Filling your plate with leafy greens, salmon, eggs, nuts and oranges can help maintain your vision. Keeping your overall body healthy contributes greatly to your eye health.
Sunglasses are wonderful fashion statements. However, it is just as important to wear them for your health. The right pair of sunnies protect your eyes from the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays. Too much UV exposure boosts your chances of cataracts and macular degeneration. Always choose sunglasses that block 99% to 100% of UVA and UVB ray when you are outside, even on cloudy days. You can also wear wide-brimmed hats and umbrellas to shield your eyes from harmful UV rays.
Monitor Medication Side Effects
Beta blockers, diuretics, antiarrhythmics, statins, antipsychotics, antidepressants, steroids, pain medications, antihistamines, sleep aids, and many other medications can affect your vision. Medication side effects are the same as symptoms of vision loss. It is important to differentiate between the two and keep your eyes in the best health. If you are taking any medication that can effect your eyes, it is important to see an eye doctor regularly. Your eye doctor will ensure your vision is not harmed and your overall health not impacted.
As we age, our vision will naturally worsen. However, we do not need to lose complete eyesight. There are many simple ways we can protect our eyes as we age and ensure good eye health.