We’re here to help with these sight-saving habits… The American Academy of Ophthalmology encourages us to celebrate senior independence in the month of July with these seven sight-saving habits. Among older Americans, visual impairment is one of the most significant contributors to loss of independence; it is also associated with a higher prevalence of chronic health conditions, falls, injuries, depression and social isolation.
Independence and Healthy Eyes
Though many vision-impairing eye diseases are age-related – such as cataracts, glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration – in most cases proactive steps and preventative care can help preserve sight. At Corrective Eye Center our eye doctors and eye-care professionals see many patients for whom independent living and functioning becomes more difficult due to vision issues. Modern treatment of cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, and other retinal diseases have revolutionized our field, and allowed millions of our seniors to continue to function at the highest levels well into their 80’s, 90’s and beyond. Our eyecare professionals want to make sure that if you are a senior, or you help out a senior in your family – maybe an aging parent or relative, we help to make eye health a priority as it’s an important aspect of maintaining an independent lifestyle. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that seniors follow these seven tips to help protect their vision:
Seven Sight-Saving Habits
1. Get an Eye Exam.
Adults age 65 and over should get a medical eye exam every one-to-two years. Regular eye exams are crucial in detecting changes in vision, which may be a symptom of a treatable eye disease or condition.
“Some eye diseases have no obvious symptoms in their early stages unless detected during a comprehensive eye exam, so older adults should make these appointments a priority,” said Charles P. Wilkinson, M.D., ophthalmologist and chair of EyeCare America. “Detecting and treating eye problems early can make all the difference in saving a person’s vision as well as their independence.”
2. Know the Symptoms of Vision Loss.
Signs of vision loss may become apparent as reading, writing, shopping, watching television, driving a car and/or recognizing faces become more difficult. Vision loss that may be noticed by friends and family include missing, bumping into or knocking over objects, stepping hesitantly, and squinting or tilting the head when trying to focus.
3. Make Eye-Healthy Food Choices.
A diet low in fat and rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains benefits the entire body, including the eyes. Studies show that foods rich in vitamins C and E, zinc, lutein and zeaxanthin are good for eye health. These nutrients are linked to lower risk for age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and dry eye later in life. Eye-healthy food choices include citrus fruits, vegetable oils, nuts, whole grains, dark green leafy vegetables and cold water fish.
4. Quit Smoking.
Avoiding smoking and second hand smoke – or quitting, for current smokers – are some of the best investments everyone can make for long-term eye health. Smoking increases risk for eye diseases like cataract and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and raises the risks for cardiovascular diseases that indirectly influence eyes’ health. Tobacco smoke, including second-hand smoke, also worsens dry eye.
5. Maintain Normal Blood Pressure, Cholesterol and Glucose Levels.
High blood pressure, cholesterol and blood glucose (sugar) levels all increase the risk of vision loss from an eye disease. Keeping these under control will not only help one’s eyes but also overall health.
6. Get Regular Physical Activity.
Not only does 30 minutes of exercise a day benefit one’s heart, waistline and energy level, it can also do the eyes a world of good! Many eye diseases are linked to other health problems, including high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol levels. Read “Running Away from Cataracts”
7. Wear Sunglasses.
Exposure to ultra violet (UV) light raises the risks of eye diseases, including cataract, growths on the eye and cancer. Always wear sunglasses with 100 percent UV protection, and a hat while enjoying time outdoors.
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