The Top 8 Eye Care Tips for Seniors
Eye health declines as you age for various reasons. Once you reach your senior years, you are at a higher risk for developing age-related vision issues such as dry eyes, cataracts, glaucoma, presbyopia, and temporal arteritis.
Many of these vision problems, however, are avoidable. With the right eye care habits, some nutritional changes, and regular eye check-ups, you can slow down these age-related issues.
If you are nearing or already in your golden years, below are the eight best tips for taking care of your eyes:
1. Use your prescription glasses.
Many seniors need glasses to see clearly up close or at a distance. If your ophthalmologist recommends you wear prescription glasses, use them all the time. Doing so ensures you reduce the risk of falls and accidents.
Additionally, wearing your prescription eyewear when you need it will help you avoid eyestrain and headaches, which you can get from squinting to see clearly.
Even if you only have ready-made reading glasses, make sure you wear them when reading a book or the newspaper to avoid straining your eyes.
Also, if you experience eye strain or double vision after wearing your reading glasses for long periods, you will do well to schedule an eye exam. In such instances, you may need prescription reading specs since you may already have myopia, astigmatism, or other vision disorders.
2. See your eye doctor at least once a year.
As you get older, avoid seeing your ophthalmologist only when you are experiencing something different with your vision. You should make it a habit to schedule an annual eye exam with your specialist, even if you are not feeling anything unusual.
An annual eye exam allows your ophthalmologist to detect any potential vision problem you may have. Your specialist will check for common age-related eye problems and prescribe a treatment that can prevent any developing issue from worsening.
If you have an eye condition that needs to be monitored, you have to see your specialist more often.
3. Protect your eyes from the sun.
Vitamin D helps keep your eyes healthy. Although the sun is the best source of this nutrient, you should keep your eyes protected from the strong UV rays.
Direct sunlight, particularly during the hottest time of the day, can damage your eyes. Additionally, it can cause skin cancer and other health issues.
To protect your eyes from the sun, wear sunglasses with UV protection when you go outdoors. If you wear prescription eyeglasses, consider getting prescription dark glasses so you won’t have to select between seeing clearly and protecting your eyes from the sun.
Also, wear a wide-brimmed hat if you are staying outdoors for a long time. Whenever you are playing tennis or golf or gardening, this accessory will keep the sunlight off your eyes and face and protect your skin from melanomas.
4. Make sure all rooms in your home are well lit.
While dim lighting is recommended for bedrooms, you shouldn’t have it in all your rooms or use it all the time.
When you read, watch TV, or use your mobile device in a dimly lit room, you will end up straining your eyes.
Read, work, and watch TV in well-lit rooms. Doing so will help your eyes focus and lower eye strain.
Open the curtains or blinds during the day to let natural sunlight in. At night, turn on the lights to make sure your workspace, bedroom, or entertainment area is well lit.
If you are not satisfied with the brightness in your rooms, replace the bulbs or have more lighting fixtures installed.
5. Give your eyes frequent breaks.
Whether you are reading a book, watching a movie or show on TV or a mobile device, or working on your computer, take frequent breaks.
Look away from the book or screen or close your eyes for 20 seconds every 20 minutes. Doing so allows you to rest your eyes for several moments.
If you are looking away from your screen, focus on an object 20 feet away from you. Try gazing at something green, such as trees or plants, since they are more soothing to your eyes.
Taking these breaks on the dot can help you avoid eyestrain and the headache that usually follows.
6. Maintain a balanced diet.
The food you eat plays a crucial role in your overall well-being. If you want to have healthy eyes, change your eating habits.
Eat more fruits rich in vitamin C, such as kiwi, strawberry, orange, and papaya since they help protect your eyes against cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.
Foods rich in antioxidants, beta-carotene, and lutein, such as broccoli, carrots, kale, squash, and sweet potatoes, reduce your risk for these age-related eye problems as well.
Make sure you take multivitamins that contain these nutrients and more to maintain your eye health. Consult your doctor to ensure you get the right supplement that meets your needs.
7. Work out regularly.
Although it may seem strange that running, hiking, or working out in the gym can help you maintain your eye health, it is true.
A study shows that regular exercise can reduce your risk for age-related macular degeneration and the effects of glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy on your vision.
Additionally, when you work out, you improve the blood flow and increase the amount of oxygen circulating in your body. These changes help improve the quality of your vision and remove toxins from your bloodstream.
If you want to start a fitness routine, consult your doctor first to ensure that you won’t overexert and hurt yourself as you work out.
8. Follow a healthy lifestyle.
Lastly, making changes in your lifestyle can also help you maintain your eye health and reduce your risk for vision problems.
Start by getting plenty of sleep daily. When you are always tired, you will more likely suffer from eyestrain. But if you are well-rested, your eyes will be refreshed fully every day.
If you are smoking or using tobacco products, kick this unhealthy habit since smoking lowers blood flow to the eyes and increases the amount of toxic substances that your eyes absorb.
If you have diabetes, hypertension, and other systemic diseases, make sure you manage them with the help of your doctor. Failing to address them can increase your risk of losing vision because of the changes in your eyes’ blood vessels.
Although you can’t stop aging, you can keep some of its effects on your body at bay. Following these tips can help you maintain your eye health even as you get older in years.
Firas Saab is the Training Manager at Al Jaber Optical in Dubai, the leading optical and eyewear company in the UAE that offers a comprehensive range of eyewear and optical services across the board, through a wide range of modern optical products and facilities. Firas is an enthusiastic trainer with more than a decade in the retail and optical industry and has recently acquired HND in Business and Management in addition to his Optical qualifications.