While it is common for eyesight to change as one gets older, it is important to note that severe changes, such as vision loss or blindness, can be prevented. When it comes to aging, many people know that maintaining a healthy lifestyle is essential for keeping the body and mind active and vibrant longer; however, eye health is often overlooked. In an effort to promote strong, healthy vision for the years to come, the expert ophthalmologists at the renowned USC Roski Eye Institute would like to encourage people of all ages to adopt the following eye-healthy habits.
Common Age-Related Eye Conditions
Typically around the ages of 40 or 50, many people begin to need prescription glasses or contacts as different components of the eye begin to deteriorate from wear and tear or developing diseases. The most common age-related eye issues include:
Age-Related Macular Degeneration – A disease in which the macula at the center of the retina in the eye, which provides central vision and sharp details, begins to deteriorate. The disease takes two forms: Dry or Wet. Dry macular degeneration occurs when yellow deposits form under the retina, causing the macula to become irreversibly thinner and weaker. Wet macular degeneration occurs when yellow deposits and abnormal blood vessels develop under the retina, resulting in the blood vessels leaking.
Glaucoma – A set of vision disorders that cause increased pressure in the eye because the fluid within the eye does not fill and drain properly.
Cataracts – A condition in which the water and protein molecules that keep the lens of the eye clear become cloudy, blocking the light from reaching the retina in the back of the eye.
Maintaining Healthy Vision as You Age
It is not always possible to completely treat conditions that affect the eyes, so it is important to take precautionary measures to prevent diseases or disorders from developing in the first place. The most important tips for protecting eyesight include the following:
Quit Smoking – Smoking cigarettes or even prolonged exposure to secondhand smoke can be just as damaging to your eyesight as too much exposure to harmful UVA and UVB rays from the sun.
Eat a Healthy Diet – While also beneficial for your overall health and wellness, a diet full of leafy greens, fresh fruits, and Omega-3 fish oil can strengthen and improve eyesight by decreasing inflammation and reducing the risk of eye conditions.
Exercise – Staying active and maintaining a healthy weight can prevent high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes, which are also linked to serious eye disease.
Wear Proper Sunglasses – The ultraviolet rays of the sun can contribute to macular degeneration as well as cataracts and other eye conditions. Always wear sunglasses that offer 100% UV protection and even wear a wide-brimmed hat to shield your eyes from damaging UV rays.
Drink Plenty of Water – The eyes needs to stay hydrated to prevent injury or wear and tear. Drinking about 64 ounces of water helps the muscles of the eye function properly while also keeping the eyes lubricated.
Apply a Warm Compress – Placing a warm washcloth over your closed eyes for about 10 minutes will help stimulate and unblock the oil glands in the eye that keep the eyes moist and healthy.
Reduce Eye Strain – Activities, such as working on a computer or playing video games, can put significant strain on your eye muscles. Remember to take regular breaks throughout the day, reduce bright light in your workplace, and wear prescription eyewear while working or studying if recommended by your ophthalmologist.
Practice Safe Hygiene with Contact Lenses – Always protect your eyes from contact lens-related infections by washing your hands before touching contact lenses, use only fresh disinfecting solution on contacts after they are removed, keep the contact lens case clean and dry after every use, and remove contacts before sleeping.
Get Regular Eye Exams – The best way to ensure that your eye-healthy habits are protecting your eyes is to see a skilled ophthalmologist on a regular basis to conduct a thorough eye exam. Early detection is key for restoring and preserving vision in the long run.
Schedule an Appointment Today
At the USC Roski Eye Institute, our exceptional doctors are experts at diagnosing and treating a wide variety of eye conditions. To receive a comprehensive eye exam and ensure that your vision is protected from age-related issues, please complete our online contact form or call 323-442-6335 today!
To learn more about the services at the USC Roski Eye Institute or to support the Institute with a tax-deductible gift, please contact Rebecca Melville, senior director of development, via email at Rebecca.Melville@med.usc.edu or by calling USC Roski Eye Institute.