5 Tips to Preserve Your Eyesight and Prevent Vision Loss
The 2011 National Health Interview Survey revealed some alarming statistics about vision loss as we age. Americans age 45 to 74 years old were more than twice as likely to report vision loss as Americans between the ages of 18 and 44, while Americans 75 years and older were three times more likely than the younger group to report vision loss.
Vision loss in senior citizens is often attributable to degenerative eye disease, including macular degeneration, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma.
Because these diseases are often caused by diabetes, controlling your blood sugar levels with exercise and a healthy diet to control or prevent Type 2 diabetes is a good step toward preventing vision loss as we age. In addition to maintaining an overall healthy lifestyle, here are some others ways to preserve your vision.
Get Regular Eye Exams
Just as doctors can spot any potential problems before they become life-threatening, eye doctors can spot issues with your eyesight and recommend treatments before vision loss occurs.
If you experience blurry vision, double vision, trouble seeing in low light conditions, “floaters” (spots that occur in front of your eyes and obscure your vision temporarily, and move when you blink), schedule an appointment with an opthamologist immediately.
Keep your future bright by putting on those shades. Protecting your eyes from harmful UV rays can help prevent cataracts and other vision problems. Wear sunglasses even in the winter when the sun is bright. Sunlight reflecting off snow, or shining through clear winter skies, can do as much damage as the summer’s scorching sun.
Eat Carrots … and Other Healthy Foods
It’s true that beta carotene, which is found in high quantities in carrots, converts to healthy Vitamin A, which is good for your eyes. Green leaf lettuce, kale, spinach and other leafy green are also high in beta carotene, as well as antioxidants, which may reduce the risk of cataracts. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon and olive oil, can help prevent macular degeneration. In general, a healthy, well-balanced diet will provide the nutrients you need to help you maintain eye health.
Rest Your Eyes
When doing highly focused work, such as reading or working on a computer or tablet, tilt your head back, close your eyes, and rest for three minutes.
Another great way to fight screen fatigue, that is, tired eyes from scaring at a computer monitor or television screen, is to remember the rule of 20-20-20-20. Every 20 minutes, look away from the screen and focus on an object 20 feet away. Blinking 20 times in a row every 20 minutes also helps rest,
refocus and lubricate the eyes.
Keep Your Eyes Moist
Staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water (the old rule of thumb was eight glasses, but not everyone needs that much), is good for your whole body, including your eyes.
The old spa trick of placing cucumbers over your eyelids also helps restore moisture while soothing tired eyes.