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As you age, your risk of vision loss increases. It is estimated that one in six adults over the age of 45 will experience some type of eye problem. This is not to say, however, that there is nothing you can do to protect your vision and prevent some vision loss as you age. Here are a few things you can do to protect your eyes:
Regular eye exams. If you have any previous vision issues you should have a regular exam every one to two years to screen for changes in your prescription and to prevent further vision problems. Even if you’ve always had normal vision, the American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends you have a baseline vision screening when you turn 40 years of age to encourage preventive care and screen for indicators of possible future vision problems.
Be aware of warning signs and/or small changes in your vision. If you notice any of the following you should visit Beach Eye Care, where Drs. Neatrour, Jain, Lipton, Dunn, Tang, and the team of vision specialists can determine if your vision issue is easily treatable or if it is part of an underlying condition: double vision, difficulty seeing in low light, hazy vision, seeing flashes of light, eye floaters, eye pain and/or swelling.
Know your family health history. Some sight-threatening eye disorders are the result of other health issues that may run in your family. If you can answer yes to these questions, it is especially important that you receive regular eye exams. Early diagnosis is the most important factor in prohibiting vision loss.
- Do you or any family members have a history of diabetes or high blood pressure?
- Are you over the age of 65?
- Are you an African-American over the age of 40?
Make sure you have regular physical exams that screen you for diabetes and high blood pressure. You should have routine physicals, even if you don’t have a family history of eye problems. Diabetes and high blood pressure often precede eye conditions like macular degeneration, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy. Early diagnosis of possible eye issues can protect and preserve your vision.
ALWAYS use UV protection for your eyes. Sunglasses with proper UV protection are a must-have to protect your eyes from the sun’s damaging rays. Wearing them regularly will reduce your risk of cataracts and other eye damage.
Increase your exercise. Simply walking as a form of exercise can reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration by up to 70%.
Eat your way to healthy vision. Studies indicate that antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of cataracts, dry eyes and macular degeneration. By “eating the rainbow,” that is eating fruits and vegetables of all colors, you’ll get plenty of valuable antioxidants. And by including fish in your diet several times a week, you’ll increase your omega-3 intake.
Don’t smoke. Smoking, in addition to its many health-impairing results, can also contribute to an increased risk of age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.
Have questions about whether you need an eye exam? Call Beach Eye Care today and someone can help you with any questions or problems you may be having, and schedule you for a consultation or a routine eye examination.