Your vision is one of the first senses you may notice changing as you get older. Age-related eye diseases such as macular degeneration and cataracts commonly cause impaired vision and blindness in older adults. But lifestyle changes, including good nutrition, could help delay or prevent certain eye problems.
Adopt a Healthy Diet
A diet high in saturated fat and sugar may increase your risk of eye disease. On the other hand, healthy foods such as greens and fruits may help prevent certain eye diseases and other health problems.
Cardiovascular disease, diabetes and eye conditions including cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) have been shown to occur less frequently in people who eat diets rich in vitamins, minerals, healthy proteins, omega-3 fatty acids, and lutein.
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, diets that include kale, salmon, oranges and black-eyed peas will benefit both the heart and eyes. Plus, foods that include the nutrient beta-carotene can help your night vision. Look for orange-colored foods like carrots, sweet potatoes, cantaloupes and apricots.
Too much exposure to the sun’s UV rays has been linked to eye damage, including cataracts, macular degeneration, pingueculae, pterygia and photokeratitis that can cause temporary vision loss.
To protect your eyes from harmful solar radiation, sunglasses should block 100 percent of UV rays and also absorb most HEV rays. Frames with a close-fitting wraparound style provide the best protection because they limit how much stray sunlight reaches your eyes from above and beyond the periphery of your sunglass lenses.
Reduce Screen Time
New research suggests high-energy visible (HEV) radiation (also called “blue light”) may increase your long-term risk of macular degeneration.
Sunlight is the main source of blue light, and being outdoors during daylight is where most of us get most of our exposure to it. But there are also many man-made, indoor sources of blue light, including fluorescent and LED lighting and flat-screen televisions. Be sure to take regular breaks from your screens throughout the day, and ask about a blue light protective coating for your glasses too.
Get an Annual Eye Exam
Vision screenings typically are designed to only detect subnormal visual acuity and major vision problems — as quickly and cost-effectively as possible. They generally are ineffective for detecting more subtle vision problems and potentially sight-robbing eye diseases.
Eye exams, on the other hand, are performed by licensed eye doctors and evaluate not only your visual acuity but also the complete health of your eyes, from front to back — including checking for early signs of serious eye problems such as glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration and detached retina.
Your eye doctor also can detect early signs of serious health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and risk of stroke, based on the appearance of delicate blood vessels and other structures within the eye.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.