Aging Gracefully Includes Taking Care of Your Eyes
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September is Healthy Aging Month, and Eye Care of Delaware encourages seniors to take care of their eyesight and have a comprehensive dilated eye exam with their family eye doctor on a regular basis.

Don’t Let Aging Impact Your Vision

The aging process brings about many changes. However, vision loss does not have to be one of them. Older adults are at higher risk for certain eye diseases and conditions, including:

  • Age-related macular degeneration, which gradually destroys the macula, the part of the eye that provides sharp, central vision.
  • Cataract, a clouding of the natural lens in the eye.
  • Diabetic retinopathy, a complication of diabetes that damages blood vessels in the retina, the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye.
  • Glaucoma, a group of diseases that can cause pressure to build up in the eye and damage the optic nerve.

Early diagnosis and treatment are the best ways to prevent vision loss.

Tips to Maintain Healthy Vision As You Age

  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet. Loading up on fruits and vegetables can help keep your eyes healthy and disease-free.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight increases your risk for diabetes. Complications from diabetes, such as diabetic retinopathy or glaucoma, can eventually lead to vision loss.
  • Don’t smoke. Smoking increases your risk for age-related macular degeneration, cataract, and other eye diseases and conditions that can damage the optic nerve.
  • Wear protective eyewear when outdoors. Protecting your eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet rays when you are outdoors is vital for your eye health. Choose sunglasses that block 99 to 100 percent of both UV-A and UV-B radiation.
  • Know your family history. Talk to your family members about their eye health history. It’s important to know if anyone has been diagnosed with a disease or condition since many are hereditary, such as glaucoma, macular degeneration and diabetes. This will help determine if you are at higher risk.
  • Consider a multivitamin. Vitamins C, E and the mineral zinc have been shown to promote eye health. Vitamins combined with lutein and zeaxanthin have been known to help patients with moderate to severe age-related macular degeneration.
  • Give your eyes a rest. If you spend a lot of time at the computer or focusing at any one distance, you sometimes forget to blink, resulting in dryness and eye fatigue. Follow the 20/20/20 rule – Every 20 minutes, look about 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This can help reduce eye strain. During long periods of intense eye use, consider using lubricant eye drops and rest your eyes for 5 minutes.

Call your family eye doctor to schedule your annual eye exam today. If you don’t have one, Eye Care of Delaware can refer you to an optometrist in your area. Call us at (302) 454-8800 today.