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5 Tips for Protecting Your Vision As You Age

The sad truth of modern society is that the ability to participate is based largely on visual acuity. If you can’t see, it becomes very difficult to function. Of course, there are some measures in place to help; crosswalks beep to let you know when to cross, and several companies are vying to be the first to put a self-driving car on the consumer marketplace. But let’s face it: if you can’t see, life is going to get a lot more difficult. Unfortunately, eyesight is often one of the first things to deteriorate as you age. But that doesn’t mean you have to resign yourself to going blind at the age of retirement. With so many ways to protect your vision, you really can maintain your eyesight. Here are just a few tips to keep your eyes sharp as you age.

  1. Avoid the glare of the sun. Just as UV rays can damage your sensitive skin and lead to problems like sunburns and even melanoma down the line, the sun can have a negative impact on your eyes if you fail to protect them accordingly. You know you’re not supposed to stare at the sun, but aside from taking the advice your parents gave you when you were five, you also need to take steps to erect a barrier between your eyes and the UV rays that can lead to cataracts, macular degeneration, and other vision problems. You can most easily do this by wearing sunglasses designed to block UV rays and/or wearing a hat that shades your face on sunny days.
  2. Watch your weight. As you age your metabolism can change, making it easier for your body to pack on extra pounds if you’re not careful. And when you’re carrying extra weight your chances for diabetes go up, especially if you have a family history of the disease. What you may not realize is that diabetes can affect your vision, potentially leading to cataracts, glaucoma, and even blindness. While excess weight might not lead to diabetes, and diabetes might not lead to vision loss, it’s still a good idea to take the best possible care of yourself through a healthy diet and exercise regimen. And chances are that you’ll protect your vision in the process.
  3. Eat right. The reason we’re supposed to consume a balanced diet is to ensure that all of our bodily systems are getting the nutrients needed to help them function at their peak, and your eyes are no exception to this rule. You’ve probably heard that eating carrots is good for your vision, and this is true in a way; the vitamin A found in carrots can help to keep your eyes healthy and your vision strong. This vitamin can also be found in eggs, dairy products, and a slew of other foods. But if you want to give your eyes the best shot at continuing health, you should also consume a diet high in vitamin C, folic acid, and carotenoids, which studies have shown to support ongoing eye health and fight off vision problems.
  4. Know your history. If there is a family history of vision problems, you need to know about it, so don’t hesitate to quiz your parents, grandparents, and other family members about medical history. When you know what could be coming in terms of eyesight issues, you can watch (no pun intended) for warning signs and symptoms in order to get the treatment you need as early as possible or even take preventive measures.
  5. Get tested regularly. There’s no better way to keep your eyesight in check than with regular visits to your ophthalmologist. As a kid you probably benefitted from in-school testing offered by mobile units like iScreen Vision. But as an adult the onus is on you to have your vision tested regularly. And if you have vision coverage through your work, there’s no reason not to go in for annual testing.