Did you know that September is Healthy Aging Month? This is something that the Academy of Ophthalmology observes each September to raise awareness of the signs of aging that pertain to vision and vision loss.
Although there’s only a month dedicated to celebrating Healthy Aging Month, it’s something you should keep in mind all year, especially as you get older.
When it comes to your eyes, many people resign themselves to declining vision as they get older. But you don’t have to lose your sight just because you’re getting older. You can keep your vision for many years by staying healthy and having regular eye exams. Keep reading to learn more about the importance of Healthy Aging Month!
Aging Eyes and Increased Risk for Eye Conditions
As you get older, your risk increases for developing age-related eye conditions, including cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy. Once you’re over 40, your risk begins growing for many of these conditions.
But you need to have regular eye exams to receive an early diagnosis to slow or stop vision loss. You can also lower your risk for problems with your vision by leading a healthy lifestyle.
The Importance of Eye Exams
Any damage caused by macular degeneration, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy is irreversible, so any vision loss is permanent. These diseases also may not have any noticeable symptoms in the early stages, so regular eye exams are the only way to diagnose and treat them.
You should see your eye doctor at least once every two years once you turn 40 and every year once you’re over 55. You may also need to see an eye doctor more frequently if you’re at higher risk due to several factors, including:
- Family history of eye disease
- Hypertension or heart disease
- UV damage to the eye
- Tobacco use
Be sure to talk to your eye doctor about how often you should have your eyes examined, and be open about discussing your medical history so they can properly assess your risk.
Healthy Aging Tips
The best way to lower your risk for eye-related conditions and maintain your best vision is to lead a healthy lifestyle. Here are the best things you can do to help your eyes and body:
Tobacco use can increase your risk for eye diseases, along with many other conditions. If you needed another reason to quit, here it is! Quitting isn’t easy, but it’s imperative, especially as you get older.
Find the support you need to stop smoking to save both your vision and your life.
Exercising on a regular basis is one of the best ways you can stay healthy. You also don’t need to do anything super intensive.
It can be as simple as going on frequent walks or getting 30 minutes of aerobic exercise a few times a week to stay fit and healthy!
Some foods, in particular, are great for your eyes, including fish, nuts, and leafy greens. You may also want to take a nutritional supplement for omega-3 fatty acids, like fish oil or flaxseed oil, along with other vitamins. But it’s always more effective to get your nutrients directly from your food!
You may already know that too much time in the sun can cause wrinkles and increase your risk of skin cancer. The UV rays from the sun can also harm your eyes, drying them out and increasing your risk for age-related eye diseases.
The best way to protect your eyes is to wear sunglasses that state they block out 100% of UVA and UVB rays.
Want to keep your eyes healthy this fall? Schedule an appointment at Shepherd Eye Center in Henderson, NV, to learn more!