As we age, our risk for eye disease increases. Conditions like age-related macular degeneration and cataracts can contribute to vision loss and may get in the way of enjoying the activities you love. If your vision is worsening or you’ve noticed eye discomfort, it’s important to address your symptoms early by seeing an eye doctor.
The good news is, there are many steps you can take now to improve your eye health and help prevent eye problems as you age. Protect your eyes, reduce the risk of eye disease and keep seeing clearly by following these top tips from our eye specialists.
Tips for Healthier Eyes
Years of excess UV ray exposure is among the most significant contributors to the development of cataracts and macular degeneration. That’s why it’s important to always wear sunglasses or protective eyewear when you are outdoors. Ensure that your sunglasses block out at least 99 percent of all UV-A and UV-B rays.
Maintain a Healthy Diet
Incorporate dark leafy greens and fish high in omega-3 fatty acids into your diet to promote eye health. Other foods for healthy eyes include citrus fruits, sweet potatoes, and vegetables, which have proven to be a good source of vitamins and nutrients for your eyes.
Drink More Water
Dehydration can slow down the production of tears that lubricate and nourish your eyes. In addition, tears help improve your vision by rinsing away dust and debris from your eyes. By drinking more water and staying hydrated (recommended 64 ounces per day), you can help keep your eyes hydrated and happy.
Exercise and maintain a healthy weight to help lower your risk of developing health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease, which can put you at a higher risk for eye health complications.
Research shows that smoking increases your risk for certain eye diseases, like glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration (AMD), and cataracts. For example, current smokers are four times more likely to develop AMD than nonsmokers.
Manage Screen Time
Take frequent breaks from looking at your computer and cell phone screens. Remember to follow the 20-20-20 rule. For every 20 minutes you spend looking at a screen, take a 20-second break by focusing your eyes on something at least 20 feet away.
How Do I Maintain Healthy Vision?
Determine Your Risk
The first step to protecting your vision is determining your risk for eye disease. First, talk with your eye doctor. An optometrist or ophthalmologist will screen you for common conditions at your annual exam.
It’s also essential to learn more about your family health history. For example, your family members could pass down certain eye conditions like macular degeneration (AMD).
Don’t Skip Your Annual Exam
We recommend all patients, especially those over the age of 60, have a dilated eye exam each year. If you are African-American, the recommended age for having a dilated eye exam is 40 years old because of the higher risk of glaucoma. This is one of the best ways to catch eye diseases before they worsen.
Consider Cataract Surgery
Everyone develops cataracts as they age. People used to put off having cataract surgery until they were older or if severe vision impairment occurred. However, with today’s advances in technology and custom lens options, patients can have surgery at younger ages and have optimal outcomes. Cataract surgery may even help improve symptoms for glaucoma patients. Ask your doctor if you are a candidate for Cataract Surgery.
Know the Signs
You are your own best advocate, so it’s essential to understand the common signs of eye diseases and act on them. For example, cataracts can lead to poor night vision, seeing halos around lights, and blurring vision.
On the other hand, Macular degeneration can cause blurred or distorted vision, blind spots, reduced central vision, and difficulty adapting to low light levels. If you notice any of these symptoms, see a doctor. Be aware and schedule your annual vision exam.
Why You Should Schedule Your Annual Eye Exam
The importance of your annual eye exam can’t be overstated. Many eye diseases show few or no symptoms early, so it’s crucial to have your eyes checked regularly. Your eye doctor can catch issues before they progress and provide recommendations to lower your risk for eye disease and other ways to protect your visual health.
Make an Appointment
Make your eye health a priority this National Healthy Vision Month. With multiple convenient locations around Jacksonville, St. Augustine, Fernandina Beach, and Orange Park. We make it easy to schedule an appointment with an Eye Health Medical Professional today.
Healthy Vision Month: Tips for Healthy Eyes is written by Florida Eye Specialists for www.floridaeyespecialists.com