Tips for Maintaining Healthy Eyesight Through the Years

Person making a heart with their fingers

Your eyesight may not be something you think about on a day-to-day basis; however, maintaining healthy vision is an important aspect of having an overall good quality of life. Many of the main causes of vision loss are age-related, such as cataracts, macular degeneration, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy, but there are things that you can do to minimize your risk and keep your eyes healthy. Protect your eyesight into your golden years by following the tips below.

Don’t Skip Eye Exams

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 93 million adults in the U.S. are at high risk for vision loss, yet only half have visited an eye doctor in the past year. Since many sight-threatening conditions have no obvious warning signs, ensuring you visit your optometrist regularly for an eye exam is crucial for detecting eye diseases early to begin treatments that will help preserve vision. How often should you have an eye exam? While the answer varies depending on aspects like risk factors and age, once a year is a good starting point.

Keep Up with Your Family Doctor Check-Ups

Chronic conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure can cause permanent vision loss if left untreated, making regular visits with your family doctor critical in being proactive about your eye health. Again, early diagnosis is best to halt progression and prevent further damage to your eyes.

Protect Your Sight by Eating Right

You probably already know about carrots being good for your eye health, but there are many other foods out there that your eyes can benefit from as well. Dark, leafy greens like spinach and kale are rich in nutrients and antioxidants that lower the risk of developing diseases like macular degeneration. Some fish, such as tuna and salmon, are high in omega-3 fatty acids and have also been shown to strengthen eye health.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Being overweight or obese increases your chances of developing diabetes and other conditions that affect eyesight, making a mindful diet and regular exercise essential components in your daily routine. This is where regular check-ups come into play again, as your healthcare professional can guide you in reaching and maintaining a weight that is healthy for you.

Be a Quitter

Or better yet, never start smoking at all! Smoking is just as bad for your eyes as it is for the rest of your body, increasing your risk of developing age-related macular degeneration, optic nerve damage, and cataracts, all of which can lead to blindness if left untreated.

Save Your Pair with Proper Eyewear

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reports that about 2,00 Americans sustain eye injuries on the job each year. Prevent injuries from happening to you by wearing protective eyewear if you work in a job that carries a high risk of eye injuries, or while playing high-contact sports like basketball.

It is also important to wear sunglasses to help prevent UV exposure that can result in permanent eye damage. Make sure you choose a pair that are built to block 100% of UV-A and UV-B rays.

Take Vision Changes Seriously

Many changes in eyesight tend to be gradual, making them harder to notice initially. However, if you do notice a change, schedule an appointment with your eye doctor right away. Symptoms like flashes of light, swollen eyes, or a sudden increase in floaters require an immediate trip to an eye care professional, as they could indicate retinal detachment.

Make sure to check the Black Hills Regional Eye Institute blog regularly for more eye care tips!