Over 1.6 million Americans over the age of 50 have age-related macular degeneration, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Plus, 20.5 million people over 40 have cataracts and 2.2 million have glaucoma. It can be more difficult to take care of your eyes as you get older, but it’s important for your health. In order to keep your eyes as healthy as possible, follow some simple, yet important, steps.
Have Regular Eye Exams
Many people think their vision is just fine because other than relying on readers to see the menu at their favorite restaurant, they have not had any issues with their vision, explains the National Eye Institute. But, in some cases, eye issues can crop up without you noticing until it is too late. To prevent this from happening, schedule a dilated comprehensive eye exam every two years. This allows your eye doctor to look at the insides and backs of your eyes for any issues.
Before you head to your eye exam, talk with your family members about any genetic eye issues you may have. For example, if your mom has glaucoma or your grandfather had macular degeneration, your eye doctor needs to know. This data allows your doctor to determine if you are at a higher risk for developing these conditions.
Eat a Healthy Diet
You have probably heard that the beta carotene found in carrots and other orange and yellow veggies is good for your eyes. Although this is true, there are other foods that have been linked to good eye health. For example, both lutein and zeaxanthin may help to lower your risk of developing eye diseases like cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. These two nutrients are found in abundance in green leafy veggies as well as eggs. So, if you love salads, fix yourself a big bowl of lettuce, spinach, shredded carrot and diced eggs, and eat your way to improved eye health.
Wear Fresh Contact Lenses
If you wear contacts, take precautions to keep them as clean as possible. Before putting them in or removing them, wash your hands thoroughly to help prevent eye infections. Also, never use contacts for longer than they should be worn. To make sure you always have a fresh supply of contact lenses on hand, order them online and have them delivered from a company like Vision Direct. These retailers stock most of the top brands and offer auto reorder programs so you never run out.
Protect Your Eyes From the Sun
Another way to keep your eyes as healthy as possible is to protect them from harmful UV rays. The easiest way to do this is to wear sunglasses. To determine if the shades you want to buy will protect your eyes, check the label for a 99 to 100 percent UV protection. If it doesn’t have this, then you might want to look for a different pair, states Mayo Clinic. To be sure you always have sunglasses handy, purchase several pairs to keep in your car, purse, work desk and at home.