The Healthy-Vision Plan
Although we don’t worry as much about eye health as we do about, say, heart disease, it’s still crucial to look after our vision, especially as we grow older. The SeniorHealth division of the National Institutes of Health suggests doing the following to help your sight stay as sharp as possible:
Eat a Healthy Diet
Dark, leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale or collard greens can help keep your eyes healthy, the SeniorHealth experts say. Additionally, research has shown that there are benefits to your eye health from eating fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, tuna, and halibut.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Being overweight or obese ups your diabetes risk. And diabetes can lead to serious eye conditions such as diabetic retinopathy or glaucoma.
Don’t Forget the Sunglasses
The most important function of sunglasses is to protect eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. The SeniorHealth experts advise getting glasses that block out 99 to 100 percent of UV-A and UV-B radiation. Exposure to the sun is linked with cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.
Wear Protective Eye Wear
Be sure to wear protective eyewear such as goggles and safety glasses, shields, and eye guards when you’re playing a sport or doing activities around the house, the SeniorHealth experts say.
Yet another reason to avoid tobacco: Smoking is bad for your eyes. It increases the risk of developing age-related eye diseases such as macular degeneration and cataracts. It can also damage the optic nerve.For free help to quit smoking, visit Smokefree.gov or call 1-800-QUIT NOW (1-800-784-8669).
Know Your Family Health History
You should know whether any family member has been diagnosed with an eye condition, because it might be inherited.
Keep Your Hands and Contact Lenses Clean
If you’re not scrupulous about hand and contact lens hygiene, you could be raising your risk of eye infection. Wash your hands thoroughly before putting on or taking out your lenses, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for disinfecting and replacing them.
Rest Your Eyes
Do you spend a lot of time at the computer or do other close work? If so, the SeniorHealth experts say, you can forget to blink and that will make your eyes tired. The experts recommend trying the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, look away about 20 feet in front of you for 20 seconds. That can help with eyestrain.
For more information on senior health and wellness subjects, visit SeniorHealth.