Our eyes constantly send signals to our brains, helping interpret the world around us and complete daily tasks like driving, cooking, reading, and balancing. But as our bodies age, so does our vision, especially into our sixties and beyond. Generally, changes in eyesight are part of the normal aging process and shouldn’t be a massive cause for concern.
It’s crucial to keep your eyes healthy to retain your vision and maintain your independence. Following these simple tips may help to prevent or slow down the loss of vision:
Eat a Well-Balanced Diet
Eating a well-balanced diet has many positive effects on our physical bodies, brains, and vision. Studies show that omega-3 fatty acids, such as DHA, can prevent age-related vision loss and eye diseases and help treat dry eye syndrome. Be sure to include leafy green vegetables like spinach, kale, and broccoli into your meals, as well as salmon, cod, nuts, and seeds to increase your intake of omega-3 fatty acids.
Limit Screen Time
Many of us, including seniors, spend more time than ever before looking at screens. Whether it’s the television, a smartphone, a computer, or a tablet, too much time in front of a screen causes eye strain, which can negatively impact our vision over time. Cutting down on time spent looking at screens and taking frequent breaks while reading, working, or watching a show on a screen is recommended. The general rule of thumb is for every 20 minutes looking at a screen, focus on something about 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
Exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun can cause eye irritation and long-term vision damage. Wear wraparound sunglasses that block 99% of UVA and UVB rays while outdoors, even if you or your loved one wears contacts with sun protection. It’s also a good idea to wear a brimmed hat and seek out shady spots whenever possible.
Take Care of Your Health
A CDC study shows that chronic health conditions and vision impairment go hand-in-hand. Those with certain health conditions, like diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease, are more likely to experience vision loss. For seniors with chronic health conditions, it’s essential to manage your health to also protect your vision.
While these lifestyle habits can help protect your eyes, they should not be a replacement for getting regular eye exams by a trusted optometrist. Changes in vision over time are to be expected, and your doctor can help track those changes, ensure that your eyes stay healthy, and adjust prescriptions as needed. In some cases, age-related eye diseases such as glaucoma, macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy will require more intervention and attention from an optometrist or ophthalmologist.