After age 60, even those who have always enjoyed perfect eyesight can begin to experience some problems. While some changes might simply be inevitable, luckily there are several things you can do to increase your chances of enjoying healthy eyes as you get older.
Eat a healthy diet. We always think of a healthy diet in terms of our weight or prevention of conditions like high cholesterol. But your diet affects every part of your body, even your eyes! In particular, certain nutrients have been linked to a reduced risk of macular degeneration, a devastating age-related eye disease that eventually leads to blindness.
Eat foods that are rich in zinc and antioxidants such as vitamins A, C, and E. Talk to your doctor about supplements if you’re concerned about your ability to maintain a healthy diet or absorb nutrients sufficiently.
Quit smoking. Those who smoke face a four times greater risk of developing macular degeneration than those who do not smoke.
Protect your eyes from the sun. Studies have linked sun exposure to a greater risk of cataracts, especially in people with fair skin and blue eyes. Wear sunglasses that adequately protect against both UV-A and UV-B wavelengths whenever you’re in the sun.
Maintain a healthy weight. Yes, your weight can lead to more problems than high blood pressure or cholesterol. You already know that being overweight can increase your risk of diabetes, but remember that many diabetics experience problems with their eyes such as macular degeneration.
Obesity is also linked to a higher incidence of cataracts. And because your weight can lead to high blood pressure, inflammation, and changes in fluid levels around the eye, you could be at increased risk of glaucoma as well.
Luckily, exercise is also associated with a reduced risk of eye diseases. So you can combat obesity while protecting your eyes by simply scheduling a daily walk.
Avoid strain. Finally, because straining your eyes can lead to vision problems, avoid the common practice of reading from a phone screen too frequently. When you do, adjust the light so that reading feels comfortable and you don’t find yourself squinting.
Prevention is key. Schedule regular checkups with an optometrist or ophthalmologist, even if you have never experienced vision problems. Anyone can develop diseases of the eye, especially past age 60 or so, but early detection and treatment will lead to a better outcome.