Everyone over the age of 45 is at risk of vision threatening eye issues. The risk for vision loss only increases as we age. In a recent American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) report estimates that more than 43 million US citizens will have age-related eye diseases by the year 2020.
Tips for protecting your eyes
Today in Northern Colorado protecting your eyesight and keeping your eyes healthy as you age is important; please consider these simple guidelines:
- Be aware of your risk for eye diseases. Learn as much as you can about your family’s health history. Do you have a family history of diabetes or have high blood pressure? Are you 65 or older? Even your ethnicity can play a role, for example: are you an African-American over the age of 40? Any or all of these traits increase your risk for sight-threatening eye diseases. Scheduling a regular eye exam can help to identify vision issues early and help you to preserve your eyesight.
- Have regular exams to check for diabetes and high blood pressure. Here in Fort Collins, Loveland and Greeley we know that these vision issues, if left untreated, can cause eye problems. More specifically, diabetes and high blood pressure can lead to vision threatening diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration, glaucoma and ocular hypertension.
- Be aware of changes in your vision. If you begin to notice changes in your vision, see your eye doctor immediately. Some indications that something may be wrong are: double vision, hazy vision, difficulty seeing in low light conditions, frequent flashes of light, floaters, eye pain and swelling. All of these signs and symptoms can indicate a potential eye health problem that requires immediate attention.
- Exercise more frequently. The AAO has found that, according to some studies regular exercise – such as walking – can minimize the risk of macular degeneration by up to 70%!
- Protect your eyes from the sun’s UV rays. Always wearing sunglasses with proper UV protection to shield your eyes from the sun’s harmful rays can play an important role in fighting eye problems as you age. This may reduce your risk of cataracts and other eye damage.
- Eat a healthy and balanced diet. A multitude of studies have shown that antioxidants can possibly reduce the risk of cataracts. In Fort Collins, Loveland and Greeley we can obtain these antioxidants from eating a diet containing large amounts of fruits and colorful or dark green vegetables such as spinach, kale and arugula. Studies have also shown that eating fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids (such as salmon) may also prevent macular degeneration.
- Get your eyes checked annually. A thorough eye exam, including dilating your pupils, can detect major eye diseases such as diabetic retinopathy, which has no early warning signs or symptoms apart from an eye exam. A comprehensive eye exam also can ensure that your prescription for eyeglasses or contact lenses is accurate and up-to-date and that there are no other eye issues that need attention.
- Don’t smoke. The many dangers of smoking have been well documented. In regards to overall eye health, people who choose to smoke are at a greater risk of developing age-related macular degeneration and cataracts as they age.
Following these steps is no guarantee of perfect vision throughout your lifetime. But maintaining a healthy lifestyle and having regular eye exams will certainly decrease your risk of sight-stealing eye problems and help you enjoy your precious gift of eyesight to the fullest!
For additional information or to schedule an appointment, please call 970-204-4020 or click on the link on the side of the page.