Because September is Healthy Aging Month, we want to help our over-40 friends celebrate it by starting out on the right foot – with healthy aging eyes!
Blurry vision, halos and other visual disturbances have a number of causes but if you’re over 50, that haze may be due to one of the most common age-related eye diseases. Here are some conditions that may set in as you get older:
Dry eye can result from inadequate tear production or the rapid evaporation of tears, resulting in irritation, redness and blurry vision.
Presbyopia sets in beginning in our 40s and 50s and is a normal part of aging. Just as our joints and skin lose elasticity, so do the lenses in our eyes, making it difficult to change focus. Most people notice it when reading becomes difficult and they must adjust the distance to see letters clearly. Our patients joke that their arms have gotten too short!
Cataracts are the cloudy areas that form on the eye’s natural lens as we age. The condition is one of the leading causes of vision loss and blindness in older adults, but it can be easily and effectively treated with modern cataract surgery.
Glaucoma affects approximately 1 in 20 people aged 65 and older. It is caused from pressure on the optic nerve, often from fluid build-up in the eye.
Age-related macular degeneration results from damage to the macula, a small area in the retina. The condition is one of the leading causes of vision loss over the age of 50.
What can I do to keep my eyes healthy as I get older?
While no one can stop the march of time and the gradual toll it takes on the body, there are things under your control that can help you keep your body – and your eyes – feeling younger than your years:
1. Eat a healthy, balanced diet. There are no downsides to high-quality foods. These include:
- Colorful fruits and vegetables, such as leafy greens, ripe fruits, bold bell peppers and carrots. If there are lots of vivid hues on your plate, you’re on the right track.
- Fish and seafood, which are high in the omega-3 fatty acids that keep every cell in the body healthy. Fish and seafood such as tuna and salmon are rich in omega-3.
- Vitamins to close the nutrition gaps. If you suspect you may be falling short on some nutrients in your diet, talk to your doctor about eye healthy supplements containing zinc, vitamins C, E, zeaxanthin and lutein.
2. Keep weight in check. You can reduce your own risk for glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and other diseases that can result from obesity by keeping active and eating healthfully. A veg-heavy eating plan will help you stay friends with your scale.
3. Stop smoking. Smoking wreaks havoc on every part of the body. Steering clear of smoke will reduce your risk of cataract and macular degeneration, along with a host of other ills.
4. Shade your eyes from UV rays. Wear sunglasses with total UV-A and UV-B protection any time you go outdoors. You’ll see better – and look cool.
5. Go easy on your eyes. Your eyes need a screen-reading break once in a while, so follow the 20/20/20 rule. Every 20 minutes, have them focus on something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
6. Get an annual eye exam. Regular checkups are even more important as we get older and are more susceptible to disease.
An eye doctor from the knowledgeable, highly experienced team at Matossian Eye Associates is available to assess your eye care needs. Schedule an appointment with an eye doctor at your convenience by calling us at (800) 708-8800 or through our website at MatossianEye.com.