August is Cataract Awareness Month, so we’re taking this time to shine a spotlight on helpful vision care tips for senior citizens.
As we age, our eyesight tends to worsen. In order to properly care for our eyes and ensure clear vision, it’s important to take some preventive steps to keep your vision sharp and maintain a vibrant lifestyle.
Here’s a list of 8 surprising things you can do to maintain eye health:
- Choose healthy food options. Nutrition plays a vital role in many aspects of our health, especially as we age, and eyesight is no exception. Eating Vitamin C-rich foods (such as strawberries, red bell peppers, and oranges), foods rich in antioxidants, beta-carotene, and lutein (such as carrots, spinach, squash, and broccoli) can all reduce your risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
- Wear proper sun protection. While vitamin D is excellent for your overall health (especially bone health), it’s important to protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful rays. Wear a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and/or keep out of direct sunlight to avoid damaging your eyes.
- Wear your prescribed eyeglasses. If your eye doctor gave you a prescription for glasses or contacts, be sure to wear them consistently. These help you reduce eye strain, which could cause your eyes to worsen with time. When you aren’t wearing your prescription glasses, your eyes have to work much harder to focus.
- Keep your regular eye exam appointments. Stick to a minimum of an annual eye exam schedule. However, keep in mind that you may need more frequent visits as you age. Not only will your optometrist stay on top of your eyesight, but she can also catch things such as cataracts, macular degeneration, glaucoma, and other degenerative eye diseases.
- Get plenty of light indoors. Light helps our eyes better process what we are seeing. Keep rooms bright and well-lit, especially if you are often watching television or reading inside. The light helps your eyes focus much faster and reduces eye strain.
- Get outside in the natural sunlight whenever possible. While it’s important not to spend extended periods of time in direct sunlight without eye protection, our eyes can greatly benefit from the natural light of the outdoors under a wide-brimmed hat and/or standing in a shaded area.
- Get moving. Believe it or not, exercise positively affects our eye health by increasing blood flow throughout the body. This also increases oxygen levels in the body and improves the quality of your vision. The exercise does not need to be strenuous and is good for more than just your eyes!
- Take frequent screen breaks. If you find yourself often in front of a screen, be sure you’re taking frequent breaks to give your eyes a rest. The recommended break interval is 20-30 seconds every 20 minutes. It may be easy to forget to do this, but with some practice, it will become a natural habit that is wonderful for your eye health!
Prevention is the best way to avoid long-term eye issues that affect your vision and quality of life. Be active eat well, and keep your visits to your eye doctor frequent. Be sure to share any changes you’ve noticed in your vision with your doctor. Catching problems earlier usually results in better outcomes with fewer interventions.