The risk for vision loss and related complications increases with age. Some type of sight-threatening eye problem affects 1 in 6 adults 45 and older. Protecting your eyesight is vital to maintaining your overall quality of life. Here are a few tips to make your eyes a priority.
- Know your risk. Conditions like diabetes, hypertension, nearsightedness, farsightedness, eye injury, or eye tumor place you at high risk. Be aware of your family history and get yourself screened regularly. Early-onset of cataracts or glaucoma can be hereditary and early detection is key.
- Regular eye exams. Adults 40- 65 should have their vision checked every one to two years; after 65, at least once a year. Comprehensive dilated eye exams detect problems early when they’re easier to treat. An eye exam also ensures your eyeglasses or contact lenses prescription is up to date.
- Look for changes in your vision. Watch for noticeable changes such as double vision, hazy vision, difficulty seeing in low light conditions, red eyes, frequent flashes of light, or eye pain and swelling.
- According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, regular exercise — such as walking — can reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration by up to 70%.
- Protect your eyes from harmful UV light. Always wear sunglasses or a brimmed hat that shields your eyes from the sun. This may help reduce your risk of cataracts and other eye problems.
- Maintain a healthy diet. Studies have shown that antioxidants may reduce the risk of cataracts. Load up on fruits, vegetables and omega-3. Speak with your doctor about supplementing with eye vitamins to ensure you are getting adequate amounts of nutrients to keep your eyes healthy.