Seniors: 5 Ways to Protect Your Vision As You Age
One day the fine print on a package, a computer screen, or instruction manual is easy to read. Then one day, you wake up and it’s a little blurry. But you notice that if you move the words further away from your eyes, they come into focus. That ever happen?
After age 40, almost every adult experiences this. It’s called presbyopia. The lens at the front of the eye loses flexibility, making it harder for your eyes to focus on things up close.
The typical fix: Reading glasses. It’s just one example of changes in vision associated with aging. Other vision problems associated with aging can include:
- Macular degeneration
- Diabetic retinopathy
- Dry eye
So what can you do to protect your vision as you age?
Not all vision problems are preventable. Most people will eventually need reading glasses, prescription glasses, or even surgery to see clearly. But there are things you can do to protect your vision as you age.
Here are five ways to keep your eyes healthy:
1. Eat healthy foods
You know…fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds, and legumes. Lean meats, eggs and low-fat dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese), can be part of a healthy diet. Eat healthy most of the time, and there’s even room for dessert.
Want to make eating healthy easier? Take a look at our complete menu of Senior-Friendly meals made with fresh ingredients. Pick your favorites, and you’ll have your next meal ready in minutes with a little help from the microwave. These meals taste great, and clean-up is simple.
Note: Following a healthy diet gives you the vitamins and nutrients your body needs to protect your health, including your vision.
2. Be more active
Here’s what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends for older adults:
- Get about 30 minutes of exercise per day at least 5 days a week. Walking is great.
- Do strength training or resistance exercises at least two days a week. This helps strengthen your bones and muscles.
- Do activities to improve and maintain your balance. This can be as simple as standing on one foot for 30 seconds to a minute, then switch feet.
Note: Exercise improves circulation and blood flow which helps protect your eyes.
3. Don’t smoke, or quit if you do
It’s not a secret. Smoking causes cancer, a long list of serious health problems, and early death. It also doubles your risk of developing cataracts, and increases the risk for vision loss.
4. Avoid or limit screen time
How much time do you spend looking at a phone, computer screen, tablet, or TV? Too much screen time strains your eyes. You blink less, and it increases the risk for dry eye.
Excessive exposure to blue light can even damage your retina and increase the risk for macular degeneration and vision loss. Reading in dim light is hard on your eyes, too.
5. Wear protective sunglasses when you’re outside
You already know too much sun exposure damages the skin. But the sun’s ultraviolet rays have a similar effect on your eyes, and can damage your vision over time.
Here’s a simple way to protect your eyes from the sun: Wear protective sunglasses with polaroid lenses.
Want to see clearly as you age? Not all vision problems are preventable. But these healthy lifestyle habits will make a difference.