How To Keep Your Eyes Healthy as you Age

Making sure you keep your eyes healthy as they age is very important. The eye is one of the only muscles in the body that doesn't get stronger with training over time. It's the way we age, everybody’s vision deteriorates as they age so doing what you can to keep your eyes healthy in other ways is very important. 

Wear sunglasses

Wearing sunglasses is important for eye health, just like it is for skin health. Sunglasses are a way to protect your eyes from the sun’s UV (ultraviolet) rays. Wearing sunglasses that block UV-A and UV-B rays can help you see more clearly and prevent cataracts later in life. Your eyes are sensitive to light, so it’s important to wear sunglasses when outdoors. It doesn't matter whether it's sunny or cloudy: Sunglasses can help your eyes outside any time of day.

There are many reasons why you should wear sunglasses outside:

  • When driving
  • When on the water or around water
  • When skiing or snowboarding
  • Anytime you're outside!

Eat well

The best way to keep your eyes healthy as you age is to eat well. A balanced diet of fruits and vegetables will provide you with all the eye-healthy vitamins and minerals that are good for your vision. These include vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, lutein, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids. Foods rich in these nutrients include melanin-rich leafy greens such as kale or spinach; yellow or orange fruits and vegetables such as carrots or squash; citrus fruits like oranges; fish such as salmon or tuna; eggs; liver; and nuts.

Make eye exams a priority

Regular eye exams are an important part of maintaining your vision, especially as you age. If you don’t have an eye condition that requires regular visits to the ophthalmologist, it’s still important to have a comprehensive vision examination at least once every two years. Because changes in vision often develop over time, it’s also recommended that you get your eyes checked annually if you are over 60 years old or wear contact lenses.

Though there are many different types of eye doctors available today, not all of them offer the same services. Some specialize in the correction of refractive errors and only perform refraction tests (i.e., checking for nearsightedness and farsightedness) while others focus on medical eye care such as treatments for diseases and conditions like glaucoma or cataracts. To ensure you receive adequate care for both eyesight problems as well as medical issues like cataracts or glaucoma, it’s best to visit an ophthalmologist who specializes in both areas.

Use eye drops as directed

If your doctor has recommended eye drops they are probably either OTC lubricating eye drops or artificial tears. These can help relieve dry eyes if you have a condition like blepharitis, but they aren’t intended to treat red eyes. They may also be valuable if you have trouble producing enough tears naturally, which is common with age.

Make sure to follow the instructions for using your drops, including not wearing your contacts when using certain products. If you want to use eye drops before putting in contacts, wait at least 15 minutes after putting in the drops before inserting them into your eyes. In general, don’t hesitate to ask your doctor about how best to use any product they recommend.

Protect your eyes at work

Wear safety glasses when working with chemicals, power tools, or in any situation where you could get an eye injury. Additionally, keep your work area well-lit so you don't have to strain your eyes. Dust and clean them regularly. This will ensure that no dirt gets in your eyes and that the air quality is healthier overall.

Reduce computer glare

The glare from your computer screen can cause eyestrain and fatigue. We offer glasses with blue light protection in the lenses which helps with computer glare. To reduce the glare:

  • Use a glare filter on your computer screen. Many filters are easy to attach and detach and can be taken off for cleaning. Glare filters are also available for smartphones, tablets, and other digital devices.
  • Position your computer screen so that windows are to the side, not in front or behind it.
  • Adjust the display settings on your computer so it is not too bright. A brightness level of 100 to 150 candelas per square meter is recommended for most users; those with a progressive vision condition may prefer less brightness (and possibly more contrast) than younger adults do.

Limit nighttime reading and use proper lighting

In addition to following the golden rule of preventing eye strain, you should also take steps to reduce eyestrain during nighttime reading.

First, if you are reading with any sort of lighting after dark, make sure it is a low-watt lamp or a book light that shines from behind your book—not a flashlight. Second, when using lamps in the evening, turn off all overhead lights and use only the lamp. This will create proper contrast and help prevent eyestrain. Third, staring at bright computer screens or mobile devices under strong overhead lights can be particularly harmful to the eyes, so try to limit screen time in this setting as well.

You can take steps to protect your eyes as you age

As you get older, your eyes will inevitably start to decline. It's impossible to stop this from happening and you can’t really do anything about it, so it’s very important to take steps now to protect your eyes as best as you can. Losing vision is one of the leading causes of anxiety and depression in the elderly, and can result in decreased quality of life as well as increased risk of accidents and falls. One thing that helps with vision loss as you age is a great pair of readers! Reading glasses help your eyes from straining when reading, cooking, working with your hands, or working on the computer.

The first thing you should do is make sure you have a healthy diet that includes fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins like chicken or fish. This will help your body fight off eye conditions such as cataracts and macular degeneration (a leading cause of blindness), both of which are common in older adults. Secondly, when outside, protect your eyes by wearing sunglasses—even on cloudy days—and eat foods that are rich in antioxidants like blueberries or dark chocolate (both contain high levels of flavonoids that fight free radicals). You should also wear protective lenses for work whenever possible because this reduces the risk of long-term macular degeneration caused by excessive computer use.

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