As you age, you experience many changes in your body and your health, including in your eyes. It’s important to understand the changes that occur to the eye during this time period and the steps you can take to protect your vision. This article will explain these changes and how you can best prevent vision loss as you age.

Common age-related eye problems

As we age, the lens of the eye becomes less elastic. The lens needs a certain amount of tension in order to focus, but over time, this tension lessens, and it becomes harder for the eye to maintain focus. Presbyopia is one of the most common age-related eye problems, which happens when people can no longer see close objects without their glasses or contact lenses. Presbyopia usually starts around the age of 40 and gets worse with time. Other common problems include cataracts and macular degeneration.

Some less common, but more serious problems that are directly related to aging include glaucoma and retinal detachment. Glaucoma is a disease in which damage occurs to the optic nerve, and it’s one of America’s leading causes of blindness. The symptoms of glaucoma can be difficult for both patients and doctors alike to detect, so if you have diabetes or a family history of glaucoma, consider having regular eye exams done by an optometrist.

Taking some preventative measures now can help prevent some of these common age-related eye issues. 

Protect your eyes with safety glasses

It's important to wear safety glasses as much as possible. The wearing of glasses is a precaution against injury from dust, dirt, and other foreign objects in the eye area. Safety glasses should be worn when using or operating any power equipment, handling harmful chemicals or material such as lead paint.

Protective eyewear should be worn when doing any activity that could potentially hurt or damage your eyes. If you have certain medical conditions, it's vital that your eye doctor discusses with you whether protective glasses would benefit you. Protective eyewear is also a precaution against injury from dust, dirt, and other foreign objects in the eye area.

Wear sunglasses

Sunglasses are an excellent investment for anyone who spends a lot of time outdoors. Even if the sun is not too bright, wearing sunglasses can help reduce eye strain and protect against ultraviolet rays that can lead to cataracts.

Wearing sunglasses is important for everyone, but it’s particularly important for children, who are more susceptible to long-term eye damage. There are certain colors of lenses that can help reduce glare and improve contrast and clarity when driving or playing sports. It’s a good idea to have a pair of sunglasses with clear lenses in all weather conditions and those that filter out glare on sunny days. Sunglasses should also block both UVA and UVB rays.

Blue Light Glasses

One of the easiest ways to protect your eyes is by wearing blue light glasses. These glasses filter out the light that can cause damage, while still allowing you to see clearly in front of you. They’re perfect for watching TV or using a computer. They also come in different styles and colors so you can find one that suits your needs best.

Don’t smoke

Smoking is a major risk factor for eye diseases. Smoking increases the risk of developing macular degeneration and cataracts, both of which can lead to irreversible vision loss. Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for your vision.

Cigarette smoking may also contribute to glaucoma, which is a group of eye conditions that can cause pain and irreversible vision loss. In addition, there are many nonsmoking risk factors for glaucoma, so it’s important that you follow up with an eye doctor regularly.

Stopping smoking not only benefits your eyes, but your overall health too. If you have trouble quitting on your own, talk to your doctor about available options such as nicotine patches or gum. You should also avoid secondhand smoke exposure.

Eat healthy

Eating a diet rich in vegetables and fruit is known to help prevent age-related macular degeneration, while vitamin C and E supplements have been shown to reduce cataract risk. Omega-3 fatty acids found in foods like salmon, walnuts and ground flaxseeds can also help protect against these conditions. Always consult a doctor before taking any dietary supplements or vitamins. Some simple changes to your daily routine can help prevent common eye conditions.

Stay hydrated

Drinking enough water helps flush out toxins and maintain a normal body temperature, which can help reduce eye strain. Additionally, staying hydrated prevents the formation of dry patches on the surface of the eye. Make sure to drink at least 8-10 glasses of water every day! Staying hydrated will help your eyes as well as your whole body stay in good shape. 

Get enough rest

Getting enough rest is the best way to reduce eye strain and dry eye symptoms. Lack of sleep can cause blurry vision, dry eyes, and a general feeling of being exhausted. Try going to bed earlier in the evening or taking a power nap during the day for 20-30 minutes.

You may want to take advantage of low light levels at night by reducing your exposure to blue light from computers and cell phones. This can help regulate melatonin production and improve overall quality of sleep.

Don’t sit in front of the computer too long

Sitting in front of the computer for too long, causes eye strain. Eye strain can lead to headaches, dry eye, and blurred vision. It’s important to take frequent breaks from sitting in front of a computer screen by standing up and moving around. Looking at something far away for 15 seconds every half hour can also help relieve stress on your eyes.

See an optometrist regularly

Having a professional eye exam once a year is one of the best ways to maintain good eye health. By getting your eyes examined by an optometrist, they can diagnose any problems and give you recommendations for treatment and prevention. 

A qualified optometrist will also be able to determine if you are at risk for developing glaucoma or macular degeneration, both serious conditions that can lead to blindness if not treated early on. 

Glaucoma symptoms include blurry vision and headaches, while macular degeneration symptoms include difficulty reading and seeing colors.

If you think that your vision is getting worse, make an appointment with an optometrist. And if you haven’t had a professional eye exam in more than two years, now is a good time to make that appointment.

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