While aging is a fact of life that one cannot escape, there are certain measures that can be taken to ensure the best possible vision as you age. The following lifestyle modifications can help delay or prevent certain eye diseases.
Regular Eye Examinations
One of the most important things you can do is schedule yearly eye examinations. During a dilated eye exam your eye doctor carefully checks for eye diseases such as macular degeneration, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy. Early detection and treatment of these diseases may help prevent vision loss.
Eating a healthy diet may help prevent certain eye diseases. Choose dark green and brightly colored fruits and vegetables to obtain the most antioxidants. Omega-3 fatty acids may also help protect your eyes against diseases such as dryness and macular degeneration. Omega-3s can be found in cold water fish such as salmon, tuna, sardines and mackerel. A good quality fish oil supplement or a vegetarian supplement containing black currant seed oil or flaxseed oil may be a helpful addition to your diet.
Smoking can promote eye disease by damaging blood vessels and reducing the blood flow to the eyes as well as increasing the amount of toxins your eyes absorb. This elevates the risk for diabetic and hypertensive retinopathy, as well as macular degeneration. If you smoke, ask your doctor about a program to help you quit.
You can also help protect your eyes by avoiding prolonged exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays and high-energy blue light. Wear good quality UV-blocking sunglasses while outdoors. Wearing a wide-brimmed hat can add extra protection. There are also new lens coatings available that reduce the amount of high-energy blue light emitted from electronic devices.
This column is sponsored by Eye Specialists of Mid-Florida, and the opinions expressed herein may not reflect those of CFHN or of its advertisers.
Dr. Julia King is a Board Certified Optometric Physician. She received her Doctor of Optometry Degree from Nova Southeastern University.