Healthy Eyes for Life

 

You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.

No, this isn’t a reference to an ‘80s rock song. We’re talking about something more important: not taking our eyesight for granted.

It’s a well-known fact that vision deteriorates as we age, but did you know that 80 percent of vision problems worldwide are avoidable or even curable?

Good eye health is important to a happy, healthy life. It’s literally the key to looking at life through rose-colored glasses!

Making a conscious effort to maintain your eyesight should be an ongoing process for everyone. Here’s some insight about good eyesight:

Eat Those Carrots

It’s not just a myth that carrots are good for the eyes. Carrots are packed with vitamin A, also found in red pepper, sweet potato, kale, cod liver oil, etc. Vitamin A is an antioxidant that has been shown to prevent vision loss caused by degenerative conditions such as cataracts and macular degeneration. We also need vitamin A to reduce the risk of night blindness and neuropathy in the eyes caused by diabetes.

Eating healthy is essential for healthy eyes. A poor diet can lead to not only heart disease but diabetes, which can negatively affect eyesight. You can’t go wrong with fruits, vegetables, leafy greens, healthy oils and nuts because they all have tons of vitamins and minerals.

There are two types of vitamin A: one comes primarily from animal products (retinol), and the other is from plant-based foods (beta-carotene).

Exercise to Maintain a Healthy Weight

A sedentary lifestyle can lead to an increased risk of glaucoma, according to a study published in Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science. Some exercise is better than none, but the CDC recommends that adults get at least 2.5 hours a week of moderate intensity exercise a week or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise a week — or an equivalent combination of both.

Regular exercise is also important in maintaining a healthy body mass index (BMI), which helps fight against diabetes. People who get the recommended amount of cardio are 70 percent less likely to develop a degenerative eye disease.

Go to the Eye Doctor

Even if you aren’t experiencing eye problems, regular eye exams are the only way to be sure your eyes are healthy. You may not know you need glasses or contacts, for example, until you get a comprehensive exam. Also, given enough time, every person will develop cataracts. However, modern ophthalmological advances make treating this condition easier and the results better than ever. An intraocular lens, or IOL, replaces your natural lens during cataract surgery.

You may not realize this, but many common eye diseases — glaucoma, diabetic eye disease and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) — have no symptoms or warning signs. An exam that includes dilation allows an optometrist to get a good look at the back of the eye to determine if there’s damage or disease.

It’s amazing to think that something as important and vital as eyesight is so often neglected. Millions of people complain of suffering from dry eyes, poor vision and other discomforts, yet only 22.4 percent have regular check-ups.

Rest Your Weary Eyes

Many people work hours upon hours at a computer every day. After a prolonged period of time of looking at a screen, eyes can become fatigued. Staring at a screen leads to a decreased amount of blinking which reduces tear production and moisture in the eyes. To reduce eye strain, try the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, look away from what you’re doing to about 20 feet in front of you for about 20 seconds.

Aging Is Inevitable

Anyone over 40 knows that the struggle is real. We begin to squint at small type because it’s tough to make out the words on the menu, a newspaper or the computer screen. This is normal as we age and is caused by presbyopia, a common condition that simply requires non-prescription reading glasses to see better.

An eye exam every two years can check for presbyopia and for more severe conditions caused by aging such as cataracts, glaucoma and AMD, all of which can require surgery. These types of eye surgeries are especially common and routine for people over the age of 70.

One of the most common reasons elderly adults suffer a fall is because of vision problems, which is why it’s important to diagnose conditions before they become a safety hazard. It may be a simple as adjusting the prescription on glasses and not related to disease at all.

Diminishing eyesight is unavoidable to a certain extent, but with proper eye care over the course of a lifetime, you should be able to hold onto good vision for a very long time.

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