September is Healthy Aging Month! Many changes can be brought on by the aging process. Your eyes are no exception, however, there are a few simple steps to take for healthy eyes for the rest of your life.
The risk of eye disease increases with age; however, many older adults neglect to receive an annual comprehensive eye exam. 1 in 6 Americans aged 65 and older have a vision impairment that cannot be corrected with glasses or contacts.
The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health reports that about 2,000 workers sustain job related eye injuries that require medical treatment. However, experts believe, the proper eye protection could prevent 90% of these injuries.
Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in American adults. Comprehensive eye exams can keep minor problems minor and major problems can many times be treated if addressed promptly.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends these simple steps to protect your sight.
- Receive comprehensive eye exams on a regular basis.
- Eat a healthy and balanced diet.
- Fish - tuna, salmon, trout, mackerel, sardines, anchovies, and herring are all a rich source of omega 3. Some studies have found omega 3 fatty acids can reverse dry eye.
- Nuts and Legumes - walnuts, Brazil nuts, cashews, peanuts, and lentils are also rich with omega 3 fatty acids. They also contain a high level of vitamin E that can protect the eye from age related damage.
- Seeds - chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds are also a rich source of omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin E.
- Citrus fruits - lemons, oranges, and grapefruit are rich in vitamin C which is an antioxidant and is recommended by AOA to fight age related damage.
- Leafy green vegetables- spinach, kale, and collards are both rich in lutein, zeaxanthin, and vitamin C.
- Carrots are rich in both vitamin A and beta carotene. Vitamin A is a component of a protein called rhodopsin, which helps the retina absorb light.
- Sweet potatoes are rich in beta carotene and vitamin E.
- Beef is rich in zinc which can help delay age related sight loss and macular degeneration.
- Eggs are a great source for lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamin C and E, and zinc.
- Water- keeping the body hydrated is essential and may reduce the symptoms of dry eye.
- Know your risk factor. Many eye diseases are hereditary, having a family history of eye disease puts you in higher risk. Obesity increases your risk of diabetes and other systematic conditions that can lead to vision loss.
- Don’t smoke. Smoking increases your risk for age-related macular degeneration, cataract, and other eye diseases.
- Manage your screen time. Too much screen time can result in eye irritation, dryness, fatigue, and blurred vision. It is recommended to look away every 20 minutes for 5 minutes to reduce eyestrain.
- Use protective eyewear when playing sports and doing activities around your home.