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maintaining healthy eyesight as you age

Changes in eyesight as you age are commonly accepted, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Taking control of your lifestyle choices, managing existing health conditions, and observing routine eye appointments can prevent or minimize age-related vision decline.

Take Control Of Your Eyesight As You Age

As optometrists, we feel it’s a travesty that vision and dental care aren’t automatically included in the standard health insurance policy. The truth is that your body is interconnected, and there’s no telling where one part, organ, or system begins and another one ends. This is why optometrists and ophthalmologists frequently notice signs of existing health conditions in our patients – often before their physicians become aware of them.

For example, diabetes is one of the leading causes of blindness, and people with long-term high blood pressure are more prone to developing glaucoma

Minimize Age-Related Changes To Eyes & Vision Health

Therefore, there are plenty of ways you can take control of eye and vision health as you age. The more you take proactive charge of your health, the less likely you are to experience dramatic vision changes – particularly those leading to blindness.

The bottom line is that, beyond genetics, positive lifestyle choices are the biggest predictor of whether your eyes are healthy or not as you age.

Focus on a healthy diet

All of the medical conditions associated with an unhealthy diet correlate to an increased risk of eye disease or conditions compromising vision. This includes diseases or conditions such as:

  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Being overweight/obese
  • Blood sugar imbalance
  • Chronic stress
  • Sleep disorders (like sleep apnea)
  • And more

Focusing on a healthy diet sets the stage for a long, vibrant life – including improved eye and vision health.

Faithfully observe routine eye exams

Most often, optometrists recommend children and adults visit the optometrist once a year to continue tracking eye health and adjusting prescription lenses as needed. However, there are times when you may be asked to come more than once a year.

Some examples of this include:

  • You have a strong family history of eye disease.
  • Having a health diagnosis known to cause rapid vision changes, like type 2 diabetes, arteriosclerosis, obesity, or certain autoimmune diseases).
  • Taking prescription medications with vision-related side effects.
  • Recent eye surgery (particularly if it’s recent).
  • You have a progressive increase in refractive error (your vision progresses faster than normal).

By checking in with us once per year, we have the chance to catch age-related eye changes in their tracks.

Focus on healthy sleep habits

How are your sleeping habits? In addition to supporting underlying health issues, getting healthy sleep every night helps with:

  • Preventing eye strain due to fatigue.
  • Immune system boosting.
  • Reducing inflammation.
  • Helping to soothe dry eye or other eye irritation.
  • Metabolism-boosting that supports weight management.

Make healthy sleep a family affair; you’ll notice all kinds of benefits, including improved energy levels and moods.

Observe annual wellness exams

Honoring annual wellness exams helps physicians catch any age-related diseases in their beginning stages. This gives you a better chance to eliminate them or minimize the need for prescription medications by honoring natural diet and lifestyle-related disease management approaches.

Women should also make sure to attend their annual well-woman exams. Did you know hormonal changes related to menopause can affect eye health? For example, even healthy women are more prone to dry eye after menopause.

Protect your eyes at all times to maintain your eyesight as you age

When we’re young, we’re notoriously cavalier about protecting our eyes from potential dangers – including the sun! Take advantage of age-related wisdom and take extra precautions to protect your eyes from harm. 

This includes things like:

  • Wearing a hat and sunglasses when working outside, even on cloudy days or while enjoying winter sports.
  • Donning safety glasses while doing yard work or working with power tools.
  • Taking ample screen breaks to minimize the risk of dry eye and eyestrain.

Eyesight is a precious gift and one that you don’t want to sacrifice by taking it for granted and avoiding simple precautionary steps.

Contact your optometrist ASAP if you notice any changes in vision

Don’t assume any unusual or sudden vision changes are “normal.” For example, while floaters or spots in the field of vision aren’t uncommon, they can be precursors for more serious conditions. 

We also want to hear from you If you’re suddenly struggling with:

  • Night blindness.
  • Notice diminished peripheral vision.
  • Have blank spots anywhere in your field of vision. 
  • Increased blurriness.
  • Pain or a dull ache in the eyes.

Never hesitate to contact us. We can schedule a virtual TeleHealth appointment if you’d like. Once we’ve heard about your experience and answers to our questions, we’ll know whether an in-person appointment would be best.

Seek support for anticipated vision loss

In some cases, age-related vision loss is unavoidable. When this is the case, early intervention goes a long way toward helping patients remain safe, independent, capable, and enjoy a high quality of life. Rather than putting your head in the sand or waiting until vision loss crosses a certain point, cope with vision loss head-on. 

We can get you all of the support you need. Sometimes, this is as simple as special magnifying tools to support reading or your love of sudoku or crosswords. If your condition is likely to cause more serious vision loss – or blindness – we’ll connect you with community resources and support to keep you independent, active, and doing the things you love. 

Atlantic Eye Insisute Always Supports Lifestyle Choice For Healthy Aging

The team of optometrists and ophthalmologists knows healthy aging is the key to preserving – and maintaining – optimized eyesight as you age. Contact us to schedule your next eye exam appointment. We love partnering with patients’ physicians and specialists to create a more integrated experience for our patients.

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