As you grow older, the probability of developing eye-related problems becomes increasingly great. Here are five top tips to help you maintain good vision throughout the glory years.
1) Eat healthily
It’s amazing how important a balanced diet can be in helping to maintain good vision as you grow older. Here are some dietary tips that will benefit your eyesight:
a) Eat lots of carrots. Sadly, these won’t give you the ability to see in the dark, but they do contain vitamin A, a group of antioxidant compounds that play an important role in vision. Vitamin A helps the surface of the eye, mucous membranes and skin act as effective barriers to bacteria and viruses, reducing the risk of eye infections and other infectious diseases, as well as cataracts. A diet plentiful in fruit, and colourful or dark green vegetables (not just carrots!), can provide you with these antioxidants.
b) Eat fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon. Studies show that this may reduce your risk of developing Macular Degeneration.
c) Consider supplementing your diet with eye vitamins to make sure you are getting the nutrients you need to keep your eyes healthy.
d) Use less salt in cooking. A particularly salty diet can increase the risk of cataract formation, so choose fresh foods if possible, and try to stay below 2,000 mg of sodium each day.
2) Avoid intense ultraviolet (UV) light
Besides adopting a healthy diet, you also can protect your eyes by avoiding intense ultraviolet light. Wear a hat and sunglasses when the sun is out, and make doubly sure you buy sunglasses that offer 100% UV protection. Sunglasses are also great at protecting your eyes from glare: surfaces such as water and snow can reflect a great deal of light, which in turn can damage the retina and cornea. Good quality sunglasses can completely eliminate this kind of glare by using polarisation.
3) Quit smoking!
An article in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) reported that smokers are 4 times more likely to go blind in old age. Smoking damages the tissues of the eye, and has been directly related to 25% of Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) cases causing severe vision loss and even blindness. The more you smoke, the greater the likelihood that you will develop AMD. Just living with a smoker can double your risk of developing this condition.
4) Exercise more frequently
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), regular moderate physical exercise can reduce the risk of Age-Related Macular Degeneration by up to 70%, and the likelihood of developing glaucoma by 25%. A healthy exercise routine contributes to lowering intraocular pressure (IOP), and improving blood flow to the retina and the optic nerve.
5) Have regular eye check-ups
You are generally advised to go for eye health check-ups at least every two years. These tests serve several purposes:
a) They determine whether you need different prescriptions of glasses or contact lenses.
b) They test for common eye diseases like cataracts and glaucoma.
c) They help detect if you have any chronic diseases that might cause eye problems. Diabetes, for example, increases your risk of age-related eye diseases, and may cause blindness from diabetic retinopathy.
These five basic steps won’t necessarily guarantee you 20/20 vision for life, but will certainly help you prevent the decline of your eyesight as best as possible.