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Aging and Your Eyes

  • Category: General Health
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Matt Gougler
Aging and Your Eyes

As we age, preserving quality of life is among the highest of priorities.
Central to that quality-of-life equation is being able to see the world around you. The risk of vision loss increases with age, so seniors – in particular – should take steps to protect their sight. March is National Save Your Vision Month, so ATRIO Health Plans is sharing ways older adults can maximize eye health.

Keep Your Eye on Eye Health

Aging and vision loss need not go hand-in-hand. Consider these suggestions to help preserve the health of your eyes:

  • Know if you're at higher risk. Knowing your family's medical history can inform your vision care. For example, if your family has a history of diabetes or high blood pressure – both of which can threaten eyesight – you should have periodic physical exams to evaluate your blood pressure and blood glucose level.
  • Have eye exams at least every two years. By having regular eye exams, conditions such as glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy can be detected at an earlier stage and a treatment plan can be developed. Smaller issues, such as the need to change your prescription for eyeglasses, also can be addressed.
  • Stay on top of macular degeneration. If you are one of the roughly 11-million Americans diagnosed with age related macular degeneration, a progressive disease that is a leading cause of vision loss in those age 60 and older, it's essential that you follow your ophthalmologist's treatment plan. Available treatments include eye injections, laser therapy and surgical options.
  • Pay attention to changes in vision. While some eye diseases don't have symptoms, red flags you should watch for include: double vision; hazy vision; trouble seeing in low light; red eyes; frequent flashes of light; and eye pain or swelling. If you're experiencing any of these conditions, an appointment with your eye doctor is warranted.
  • Protect your eyes. Both UV-A and UV-B rays can adversely affect your eyes and vision. So, when you're going to be spending time outdoors during the daytime, don't venture out without sunglasses that provide 100-percent protection from UV rays. This precaution also may reduce the risk of developing cataracts.
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet. For starters, select foods with antioxidant properties, such as fruits and colorful or dark-green vegetables. Some studies have shown that antioxidants may reduce the risk of cataracts. Other studies have pointed to consuming fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, as possibly reducing the risk of macular degeneration. Several nutrients have been associated with protecting eye health, including zinc, as well as vitamins E and C. Foods containing these nutrients include: sweet potatoes; flax seeds; leafy greens, eggs; citrus fruits; and nuts.