It’s Healthy Aging Month, so it’s time for us to discuss your eye health. As we age, so do our eyes. And as our eyes age, we are more susceptible to worsening vision and eye diseases. There is a lot to learn about aging eyes and what you can do to keep them healthy. Our eyes naturally worsen as time goes on, so there isn’t a lot we can do to prevent eye problems. But even though we can’t prevent most age-related eye issues, there is a lot we can do to protect our eyes to slow down eye diseases.
The Nationwide Vision team in Arizona is here to talk you through what eye issues you might be experiencing and what you can do to keep your eyes as healthy as possible.
You might have experienced Dry eyes your entire life, but the dry eyes that come later in life are more severe. Dry eyes can cause itching, burning, and irritation. Because of the discomfort and irritation, you might find it difficult to see. As we age, this becomes more prevalent.
Age-related macular degeneration is the most common form of vision loss for people over 50.If you don’t know, the macula is the part of the retina you need for your central vision. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) affects this area of the eye directly. Even though AMD won’t cause blindness, it will likely cause blurry and unclear vision. With AMD, you’ll most likely struggle to see things up close.
If you struggle to see words clearly when reading, you’re likely suffering from presbyopia. Presbyopia can be particularly frustrating because we often read and look at our phones. If you struggle with presbyopia, then you’re not alone. 83% to 89% of adults that are 45 or older and live in the United States have presbyopia.
Cataracts cloud your eye’s natural lens, making it difficult to see clearly. Cataracts most commonly develop naturally as a part of the aging process. They often worsen and grow over time if left untreated. Cataracts are more common than glaucoma and affect 24.4 million Americans age 40 and older. Surgery is the only way to treat cataracts fully.
How can you take care of your aging eyes?
Our bodies can’t properly function without water; the same goes for our eyes. Being dehydrated can make us very sick and can dry out our eyes. As mentioned earlier, dry eyes can cause discomfort and irritation. Our lives can be hectic, and sometimes it can be easy to forget to drink water. Sometimes we can go long periods without even realizing we’re dehydrated, so focusing on our water consumption is essential.
Being outside in the sun exposes your eyes to harmful UV rays. Too much exposure to UV rays can affect your eyes over time. It’s extra concerning because UV ray damage doesn’t just reset; it accumulates over time. The best way to keep your eyes safe is to wear sunglasses that block 100% of both UVA and UVB rays. Protection shouldn’t stop there. We recommend wearing wide-brimmed hats as well as sunglasses when you’re outside.
Eating the vitamins and nutrients your body needs is critical to a healthy life. Antioxidants, vitamins A, C, and E, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids are just some of what you need. You can get all these nutrients from fruit, veggies, leafy greens, fish, nuts, and seeds. Be sure to exercise regularly as well. If you eat right and exercise, you’re doing your best to keep your eyes healthy as they age.
It’s not easy or possible to fully self-diagnose your eyes, and that’s why comprehensive eye exams are crucial. Hopefully, you’ve already been going to the eye doctor for most of your life, but if you haven’t, starting the habit is essential. If you don’t visit an eye doctor, you won’t know if you have more severe eye problems. While you might be able to tell if you have blurry vision or dry eyes, eye doctors can see if you have glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration, and more. It’s essential to catch any of these issues in their early stages.
It can be easy to forget our eye health, but we must keep a close eye on things as we age. Everybody’s vision worsens with age, and we want you to get the treatment you need to be able to see clearly. Caring for our bodies and eyes will go a long way in living a more satisfying and comfortable life.
The Nationwide Visions team wants to help you with your aging eyes and your future eye health. No matter where you are in Arizona, quality eye care and comprehensive eye exams are never far away! Call or click today if you want more information about Healthy Aging Month and why we’re spreading awareness. Reach out to schedule an appointment at Nationwide Vision!