September is Healthy Aging Month
As we age, we are at a higher risk for various eye diseases and conditions. Beginning at age 40, adults may start to notice difficulty in seeing clearly when working on a computer or looking at their phones.
Many eye diseases and conditions have no warning signs but can be detected in their early stages during a comprehensive dilated eye exam. Early detection and treatment are key to saving sight. Most people start taking care of their vision only after it starts to change. But there are measures you can take to help keep your vision strong and help you become aware of changes in eyesight.
Age-Related Eye Diseases
Glaucoma: A group of diseases that can cause fluid and pressure to build up in the eye and damage the optic nerve.
AMD: A the leading cause of vision loss and blindness among adults ages 50 and older. It gradually destroys the macula, which is the part of the eye that provides sharp, central vision. A variety of treatments are available to help reduce the risk of vision loss in people with this condition.
Cataract: A clouding of the lens in the eye that causes loss of vision. Cataract is common in older people, and surgery is the only effective treatment. By age 80, more than half of all Americans either have cataract or have had cataract surgery.
Low Vision: People who have age-related eye disease are more likely to develop low vision. With low vision, eyesight is blurry even when wearing glasses or contact lenses. Everyday tasks like reading the mail, shopping, cooking, seeing the TV, and writing can be challenging.
What can you do?
Eat Healthy: Make sure that you include foods rich in vitamin C, vitamin E, copper, and zinc to your diet.
Incorporating foods like eggs, pumpkins, carrots, dark leafy greens, sweet potatoes and others rich in antioxidants can help reduce macular degeneration. Coldwater fish such as mackerel, wild salmon, and cod are rich in DHA, a fatty acid that strengthens cell membranes, including those in your eyes. Remember to consult your physician before starting a diet, supplement, or fitness plan.
Pay attention to your vision health: Remember to schedule your annual dilated eye exam. Having a dilated eye exam every year or as recommended by your eye care professional can help detect age-related eye diseases in their early stages.
Avoid Smoking: Smoking can increase your chances of developing cataract and can cause age-related macular degeneration. Additionally, smoking can reduce the number of antioxidants that are beneficial to your eyes.
Do your Pencil Push-Ups
Strengthen your eyes with convergence exercises.
- Sit or stand straight and look at a far off small object.
- Hold out a pen at an arm’s length and look at its tip.
- Slowly bring the tip close to your eyes, keeping the tip at level with your eyes and hold for 10 seconds (the tip should appear clear and single)
- Pull it back out to arm’s length and hold it there for 10 seconds.
Repeat the exercise 5 times and work up to 10 times.