As we get older, we start noticing changes in our physical health. This includes our eye health and vision; eye diseases are a prevalent form of age-related diseases. Vision impairment and blindness affect your physical and cognitive functions, leading to a poorer quality of life. Today, 510 million people have impaired vision, and over 11% are older adults. Age-related eye diseases such as cataracts and glaucoma are the leading global causes of visual impairment and blindness.
For seniors, changes to your vision are often dismissed as a part of ageing. For those who are still active in retirement, however, certain hobbies or activities can harm your eye health over time. Fortunately, there are positive health practices that can help prevent or delay age-related eye conditions. Below, we’ll go through eye care tips for active seniors:
Regular eye exams
Eye exams are essential for identifying potential eye health conditions and vision issues. This is especially important for seniors as impaired vision can lead to more frequent falls and injuries at home or outdoors. For adults aged 55 to 64, experts recommend routine eye checkups every one to three years. For those 65 and older, one to two years is recommended as to how often you should check your eyes and vision.
The good news is that eye exams are a lot more accessible now, as many providers allow you to do it online. Scheduling your eye exam online only takes a few minutes, and walk-ins are always welcome. Aside from your scheduled eye exams, check in with your eye doctor if other eye issues are affecting your daily life, such as itchy, dry, red, or teary eyes. These are especially prone to occur after prolonged exposure to digital devices.
A common byproduct of your routine eye exams is a prescription for your eyewear. As discussed in our introduction, many age-related eye conditions cause impaired vision. Adults over 40 tend to develop presbyopia—a refractive error that makes it difficult for you to see things up close. If you find yourself having to hold books or phone screens farther away from you to be able to focus, then you likely have it.
This can easily be countered using reading glasses. The right pair of reading glasses can help bring small prints or texts into focus. Over-the-counter reading glasses can serve this purpose just fine. They can help you focus up close and prevent damage to your vision. If you spend a lot of time reading or using digital devices, reading glasses will be a crucial aspect of your eye care. In case of specific needs, such as different lens strengths for each eye or astigmatism, prescription reading glasses from an eye doctor are an ideal option.
Blue light glasses
It isn’t just reading that may necessitate the need for glasses – television and computer screens are also a danger to the eyes. They emit blue light and glare, which many believe is also bad for eye health. In the modern age, where staying in touch with the family is as likely to be done through a computer as a telephone receiver, blue light glasses can help keep you safer. They offer a protective shield against this type of light by reducing glare, whether watching TV, communicating with the family on a computer, or reading the latest novel on a Kindle. Digital protection can also be added to everyday frames, making them versatile and accessible.
Lastly, healthy nutrition can do wonders for your eye health. A healthy diet consisting of lots of leafy greens, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables can provide all the essential nutrients that are beneficial not only for the eyes but your entire body. This is because your eyes rely on tiny arteries for oxygen and nutrients just as much as your heart depends on larger arteries.
Indeed, diets low in fat can help your eyes. For example, orange-coloured vegetables and fruits high in vitamin A are good for your retina, helping turn light rays into the images you see. Without vitamin A, your eyes can dry quickly, causing irritation. Fortunately, vitamin A is easily found in carrots, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, and apricots. Leafy greens are rich in lutein and zeaxanthin—antioxidants that protect the macula—giving your eye a central, detailed vision. Leafy greens such as kale, spinach, romaine lettuce, and broccoli also contain these nutrients. And if you’re not a fan of leafy greens, eggs are also a good source.
As an active senior, you’d want to continue doing everything you love, whether it be using digital technology, sports, or travelling outdoors. With proper eye health maintenance, you can do all these and more well into your golden years.