Did you know that your eyesight can start deteriorating as early as your mid-40s? This could be even younger for some since everyone is different. As we age, our vision gradually changes. It can start with blurry vision due to the natural progression of aging. But there are some things you can do to preserve your eyesight which we’ll discuss later in the article. One of the best ways to think about our eyesight, or our eyes in general, is to think of them as lenses because they are.
As we age, our lens begins to become more and more fragile. This is because of the multiple functions it has. It serves as an optical component that controls focus, light transmission, and even refraction of light. Other functions of our internal lens are also affected as we grow older. These include clarity and the flexibility that the lens has as well as the production of lubricating fluid and the ability to change shape. As a result, our vision gradually becomes less sharp over time.
We’re going to talk more about eye health, how to preserve it and let you in on some fun facts that you may or may not have already known so, keep reading.
What Should You Know About Eye Health as You Age?
Many factors influence the health of our eyes. This includes genetic factors, diet, and even the environment. Let’s talk about a lesser-known factor that you should stay aware of when it comes to your sense of sight as you age. Most people have no idea that the environment really does take a toll on eyesight.
For example, different variations in temperature, bacteria, and even different humidity levels can all affect the health of our eyes. These include the amount of time you spend outdoors, the quality of light, and pollution you’re exposed to.
Quality of light has a huge impact as it can cause eye strain and fatigue. This includes exposure to ultraviolet light which is harmful to our eyes as it can cause several eye diseases, including cataracts and macular degeneration. It also causes damage to the cornea and conjunctiva, which are the outermost layers of the eye. Exposure to UV light is one of the leading causes of vision loss in older individuals as well.
Knowing a few things specifically about what you could be susceptible to can also be helpful. The most common eye diseases that affect adults are cataracts, glaucoma, and age-related macular degeneration. Here’s what every senior should know about these eye diseases.
This is the most common eye disease that affects people as they age. It is a clouding of the lens in the eye which is normally clear. This usually starts off slowly but if it progresses, it can lead to complete loss of sight.
This is also known as optic neuropathy. Glaucoma is another leading cause of blindness among seniors. It’s a chronic condition that causes damage to your optic nerve, which is responsible for sending images from your eyes to your brain. This can result in reduced peripheral vision and even blindness if not treated within a good timeframe.
Eye Diseases Associated with Aging
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of vision loss among seniors. It’s a slowly progressive disease that can result in loss of central vision affecting our ability to read or see details clearly when we look at something directly or even when we look up or down.
AMD can occur when we have an unhealthy diet and lifestyle that includes too much sun exposure, smoking, and alcohol consumption. These are only a few of the risk factors for AMD.
Top Three Tips for Keeping Your Eyes Healthy As You Age
To maintain a healthy lifestyle and enjoy life as you age even more, following these top three tips can help you to keep your eyesight in good shape.
1. Quit Staring at Screens
We tend to spend a lot of time focusing on digital screens which can impact our sight. In fact, we spend an average of around seven hours a day looking at screens. Digital eye strain can cause several things from dry eye to eventual deterioration of our sight depending on how long we expose our eyes to screens and how close up we have the screens to our faces.
2. Have Regular Eye Exams
An eye exam should be part of a check-up. Being proactive by having an eye exam when you should will help you to increase the chances of early detection in the case that you do have any issues with your eye health. If you are between the ages of 55 and 64, you should be getting an exam at least every year to three years.
However, if you’re 65 or older, you’ll need to shorten that time and have an exam every one to two years. Being able to catch things in their earliest stages can mean the difference between permanent eye damage or not having any issues at all, or things that may be more manageable.
3. Eating Healthy Does Make a Difference
Leafy greens like spinach and kale should become a significant part of your diet. This is because they are all rich in Vitamins C and E. Overall, they are packed full of carotenoids which is basically what helps your body protect itself from different eye diseases. With that, carrots and sweet potatoes are great options to promote healthy eyes as well as nuts and legumes.
If you’re a senior in Florida, you might be happy to know that citrus fruits are also good for your eyes. This means that making regular trips to produce stands could significantly help your sight.
Top 6 Fun Facts About Eye Health You May Not Have Known
While taking care of our eyesight is important, there are a few things that you probably didn’t even realize about your eyes:
- Your eye muscles are 100 times stronger than they need to be for what they do
- Our entire eye isn’t fully exposed, only one-sixth of it is
- We think time moves slowly but our eyes can process around 36,000 pieces of information…all within an hour
- Every single second, your eyes are focusing on at least 50 different things
- You can give it a try but it’s supposedly impossible to keep your eyes open while you sneeze
Our eyes are capable of extraordinary things and we often neglect the care and protection that they need. While our lashes, lids, and tears are naturally meant to protect our eyes, at times that’s not enough.
The Bottom Line
You’ll notice that your eyesight gradually becomes less sharp as you age. Go that extra mile and wear UV-blocking sunglasses, limit your screen time, and adjust your diet. All of these simple things can make a difference in your sight and while you can’t always change certain situations, there are things you can do to be proactive and prepared.
If you’re a senior in Florida, share what you’ve learned about how to maintain your eye health, and keep in mind…those who have just one serving of oranges a day are 60% less likely to develop late macular degeneration. And what better place to be than Florida to get what you need to reduce your risk?