Your Guide to Maintaining Healthy Vision—The world is filled with beautiful sights, and our ability to marvel at these is not something that should be taken for granted, especially as we age. Whether you have 20/20 vision or are a seasoned eyeglass-wearer, it’s important to focus on the simple lifestyle changes that you can make to lower your risk for eye disease and vision loss. This way, you can appreciate all of life’s little joys well into your golden years.
Consider these 5 commonly overlooked “gems” about maintaining and protecting your vision:
- Feast your eyes on the right foods. Eating your way to improved eye health is a real possibility! In fact, one of the best things that you can do for your eyesight is eat a balanced diet. Fill your plate with certain dark green vegetables, such as spinach and kale, which may reduce your risk of getting Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD). You can also lower your risk of developing other diseases by adding the following to your diet: salmon, tuna, and other oily fish; eggs, nuts, beans, and other nonmeat proteins; and citrus fruits such as lemons, oranges, and grapefruits.
- Focus on controlling your blood pressure. Controlling your blood pressure is not only good for your heart; it is also good for protecting your vision. High blood pressure can increase your risk for glaucoma. It may also increase your risk for diabetic retinopathy if you have diabetes. So going forward, vow to show love for your heart and care for your eyes.
- Commit to quit smoking. Need another reason to break the habit (or never start)? Your eyesight. By quitting smoking, you may reduce your risk of developing AMD, cataracts, and glaucoma. Quitting smoking will also reduce your risk of developing diabetic retinopathy if you are diabetic.
- Wear your sunnies all year long. Most of us look forward to those bright, sunshiny days, but the effect of all of that ultraviolet (UV) radiation on our eyes is, well, less than sunny. UV rays are invisible to the eye. These UV rays can cause sunburn, and they can also damage your eyes and impair your vision. Perhaps most importantly, this damage can occur year-round. So, even while we are apple picking and leaf-peeping during the cooler months, it is important to think about both sunglasses with UV protection and proper safety eyewear when you or your children are outside.
- Visit the eye doctor regularly (yes, even you with the 20/20 vision). Our eyes serve as a window to our well-being. For those who already wear eyeglasses, have diabetes, or are aged 55 or older, an eye doctor can help treat common eye problems you may have, keep your eyeglass prescription up to date, and check for and treat eye diseases. For those with no sight problems, it’s equally as important to schedule a baseline eye exam by an ophthalmologist or optometrist. There are numerous eye diseases that often don’t cause pain or have any symptoms during their early stages, so only your eye doctor can determine if you have an eye problem that should be tended to.