Aging is a natural and unavoidable process that often brings with it a variety of eye problems. The most common are glaucoma, AMD (Age-related Macular Degeneration), cataract, and sometimes even the loss of vision. However, if follow a few simple rules, you will greatly increase the chances to keep your eyesight sharp.
A Rulebook on Age-Related Eye Diseases Prevention
1. Wear Sunglasses to Reduce UV Damage
A study from the National Eye Institute proves beyond all doubt that frequent exposure to sunlight (read UV damage) leads to cataracts. This problem is caused by oxidative stress, which is a part of life and therefore cannot be prevented. Consuming foods and supplements rich in antioxidants helps reduce its negative effects a little. However, the damage done to the eyes is irreversible.
Exposure to UV radiation has been tied to many health problems, the main of which is melanoma. As you can’t put an SPF cream on your eyes, the best solution is to wear sunglasses that will block out radiation. Get yourself sunglasses with high-quality lenses that will actually protect your eyes, instead of simply dimming the sunlight. Don’t forget that UV rays are damaging not only outside, but also in buildings if the glass isn’t protected by UV blocking films.
2. Go to Regular Checkups to Catch Problems Early
White over 60% of Americans pay regular visits to the dentist, ophthalmologists are often forgotten during the early exam. You should never forget to have your eyes examined by a professional as this can catch many problems at their early stages.
For example, common conditions like blepharitis and dry eye syndrome aren’t dangerous and often go ignored in the beginning. However, if left untreated, both can lead to severe eye health problems and eventual loss of vision. The majority of age-related eye diseases are either caused or complicated by these common issues that show up as mild irritations only.
3. Eat a Healthy Diet to Prevent Vitamin Deficiencies
Nutritional deficiencies, especially those of vitamins C, E, A, and omega 3 fatty acids, are more likely to have AMD. They have a greater chance to start developing age-related eye diseases earlier in life.
A diet rich in fruits and vegetables, as well as containing sources of omega 3 (fatty fish, nuts) is best. Pay extra attention to loading up on antioxidants. Berries, blueberry and cranberry in particular, contain huge quantities of those, so eat them regularly.
Don’t forget that a ‘good’ diet does not only contain healthy foods, it also excludes unhealthy. Avoid processed products and refined sugar.
4. Read Drug Labels to Be Aware of Side Effects
Many medications have various eye problems as a side effect. For example, some antidepressants reduce eye lubrication because they affect the biochemistry of the brain. Therefore, it doesn’t produce the element necessary for making your eyes lubricate.
A study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology highlights the connection between reduced eye wetting and serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Note that some medications might not have eye problems as one of their side effects as these come to be because of drug combinations. Therefore, you should monitor your condition and consult an ophthalmologist if you notice any problems.
5. Maintain Proper Eye Hygiene to Prevent Infections
Irritation caused by makeup, fungus that starts growing due to poor washing up, not cleaning your contact lenses thoroughly, and even rubbing your eyes with dirty hands can lead to inflammation and infection. These conditions can cause blepharitis and a variety of other eye problems that will eventually become chronic.
To avoid this and therefore reduce the risk of age-related eye diseases, you should take proper care of your eyes. Wash your face thoroughly at least twice a day. Never use makeup that causes irritation or has expired, follow instructions on using contact lenses to the letter.
Most importantly, let your eyes rest every 20 minutes when working on a computer or performing any other eye-straining activity.