Want to maintain sharp vision as the years go by? Eye problems become more common with age; here are five ways to help keep your eyes healthy and in good working order.
Wear Sunglasses...All Year Round
One of the best ways to reduce the risk of developingcataracts, a cloudiness of the eye’s lens that is the most common vision-robbing condition, is to wear a brimmed hat and high-quality sunglasses whenever outside—even on cloudy days.
TheAmerican Academy of Ophthalmology recommends wraparound shades that block 100% of both UVA and UVB rays. (Some medications, such as statins and antibiotics, can make the eyes more sensitive to light; discuss such issues with your practitioner.)
What’s more, you should always wear protective goggles when engaged in activities that pose an injury risk, such as using a chainsaw or playing racquetball.
Manage Your Screen Time
Spending a lot of your time staring at screens can lead to eyestrain. As we suggesthere, there are ways you can ease digital-related eye discomfort.
First, position your desktop correctly; the monitor should be 20 to 28 inches away from your eyes at 15 to 20 degrees below eye level. Then don’t forget to blink more often—every time you click your mouse, for example—and follow the American Optometric Association’s 20-20-20 rule: Take a 20-second break to view something 20 feet away every 20 minutes.
Do Eye Yoga
Yoga offers exercises that help work the small muscles of the eye; advocates say these movements not only help older people maintain sharp focus but also reduce tension and sharpen concentration.†
One example of an exercise designed to ease eyestrain: Relax your facial and eye muscles. Then, without moving your head, look up at the ceiling before slowly circling your eyes clockwise, focusing on objects in your periphery, three times. Close your eyes and relax, then repeat the same movement counterclockwise.
Live a Vision-Friendly Life
Some foods contain nutrients that promote better eye health.*
While such foods won’t help you with some common vision problems, such as nearsightedness or astigmatism, they may help you stave off eye disorders that tend to develop as you get older.
In addition to cataracts, these includeage-related macular degeneration (AMD), which damages themacula, the central part of the retina;glaucoma, damage to the optic nerve generally associated with excessive pressure within the eye; anddiabetic retinopathy, a diabetic complication that affects blood vessels beneath the retina.
If you want to support your eyesight, fill your plate with eggs and leafy greens, which contain lutein and zeaxanthin (leafy greens also supply vitamin C); seafood, which supplies astaxanthin; berries, which contain anthocyanosides; nuts, which supply vitamin E; and fatty fish, a rich source of omega-3.*
Living an overall healthy lifestyle is crucial, too.
Exercise has long been known to reduce blood sugar levels, which helps lower the risk of diabetic retinopathy, and to ease stress, anunder-appreciated cause of poor eyesight. And avoid smoking, which increases your risk of eye disease.†
Get a Dilated Eye Exam
Some vision problems, such as nearsightedness, make their presence known early in life. But others, such as AMD and cataracts, tend to develop over many years.
That’s why it’s helpful to undergo adilated eye exam—in which your pupils are widened with eye drops so that the doctor can examine the inside of your eye—from either anoptometrist, the primary care providers of the eye world, or anophthalmologist, a medical doctor who specializes in eye disorders.
TheNational Eye Institute recommends going for dilated exams every one or two years if you’re over 60 (over 40 if you’re African American) or if you have a family history of glaucoma. If you have other disorders that can affect eye health, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, ask your regular practitioner about scheduling this type of exam.
Of course, you should visit an eye specialist any time you have problems with your eyes, from fuzzy or blurry vision to pain or excessive weepiness.
†The information provided is not an endorsement of any product, and is intended for educational purposes only. NaturesPlus does not provide medical advice and does not offer diagnosis of any conditions. Current research on this topic is not conclusive and further research may be needed in order to prove the benefits described.
The conditions and symptoms described may be indicative of serious health problems, and therefore should be brought to the attention of a qualified healthcare practitioner.
Like this article? You’ll love our weekly newsletter
sign up here!
**These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.