After the age of 40 it is not uncommon to start to notice small changes in your vision. You might start having problems where you never had before, such as not being able to see street signs as clearly, having difficulty reading your favorite book, or even having issues working on a computer screen. However, most adults don’t view vision care as a top priority; instead they concentrate more on the physical health of the body itself, such as monitoring their blood pressure, cholesterol, and weight.
Changes in vision will occur, so it is imperative that when you notice any changes, no matter how small, you should be checked up on by a doctor or an eye care professional. Since some diseases have no symptoms in the early stages, the National Eye Institute recommends that all adults who are over the age of 60 should have a dilated eye exam. Having a comprehensive eye exam is the best way to detect certain conditions and diseases that can lead to partial vision loss or even blindness. This type of test can detect conditions and diseases such as diabetic eye disease, dry eye, age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, as well as glaucoma. However, if you are an African American, it is advised that you get a comprehensive eye exam at the age of 40 since there is a higher risk of developing glaucoma at an earlier age.
Having regular eye exams is important, and will go a long way in keeping your eyes healthy, but there is more you can do to help ensure that your eyes continue to see well for your lifetime. Check out these tips from the National Eye Institute that will also help protect your vision for the long run:
- Knowing and understanding your family history is very important. If you do not know your family’s history off-hand, it is imperative that you speak to your family members about their eye health history. This will help you determine if you are at a higher risk for developing an eye condition or disease, because many are hereditary. Remember, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree!
- Protect your eyes! You only have one pair, so it is important to wear protective eyewear when welding or working with some other hazardous material. Even when you are doing chores, or playing sports, wearing protective eyewear can go a long way in the case of an accident or a freak accident. Depending on what you are doing there might be a pair of protective glasses already designed for that purpose. Protective eyewear generally can be found in hardware stores, as well as in sporting goods stores. You can also go to your eye care provider as well if you need assistance in finding a good pair, or are looking for something customized.
- Wear sunglasses, even in winter. Many know they should be wearing sunglasses outdoors, but this extends past the summer time. Even in the winter or on overcast days, sunglasses should still be worn. This is especially important if you spend a lot of time outside in all weather conditions, since the sun can relax off of water and snow-so there are no excuses to wear those shades! Sunglasses are meant to protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful UV rays, so when purchasing sunglasses be sure you get a pair that blocks out 99 to 100 percent of both UV-A and UV-B rays.
- Lastly, live a healthy lifestyle and take care of your body. Living a healthy lifestyle is good for your mind and body, which of course translates into being good for your eyes. The three things that are the most important is to not smoke, eat healthy, and maintain a healthy body weight. Research has found that smoking can lead to an increased chance of developing cataracts, optic nerve damage, as well as macular degeneration. While being overweight increases your chances of developing diabetes, which can lead to vision loss due to glaucoma and diabetic eye disease. Overall, eating healthy foods and a well-rounded diet is your best preventative medicine.