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Many of life’s moments that matter – both big and small – we experience with our eyes. As we age, it’s important to take proactive steps to ensure that we protect our vision against common diseases of the older eye, like glaucoma, cataracts or age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Your eye doctor is the best resource for vision and eye health advice, especially as it pertains to your specific needs, however there are a few things you can be mindful of at home. Here are five things to consider To when looking to protect protect your eyesight well into the future:, here are five things to consider:
Know Your Family Tree. Are you at a higher risk for hereditary diseases that may affect your vision? A review of your family’s health history will help you know if you may need to take extra precautions when it comes to your vision. Relatives with diabetes or high blood pressure may mean that you need to take extra precautions when it comes to your vision.
Keep Up On Your Check-Ups. For the roughly 232 million Americans that require vision correction, trips to the eye doctor may seem compulsory, but regular eye exams are necessary even if you have 20/20 vision. Many eye diseases have no early symptoms, and waiting until you recognize an issue could result in permanent vision loss. A comprehensive eye exam, which includes dilating your pupils, can determine your risk for major eye diseases, as well as ensure that your prescription for eyeglasses or contact lenses is up-to-date. With these exams, your eye doctor can monitor for gradual signs of degeneration, so there’s less risk of long-term damage.
Protect Your Eyes From Sunlight. Sunglasses are a great fashion accessory but their most important purpose is to protect your eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. When shopping for new shades (prescription or not), double-check that they are equipped to block both UV-A and UV-B rays. This may help reduce your risk of cataracts, pinguecula and other eye problems.
Give Your Eyes A Rest. Many of us depend on computer and smartphone screens each and every day. Spending a lot of time in front of these screens can cause your eyes to get fatigued. If possible, follow the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, look away about 20 feet in front of you for 20 seconds. This prevents eyestrain and gives your eyes the break they deserve.
Eat Your Veggies.Eating a balanced diet and maintaining a healthy weight is good for your entire body – including your eyes. Existing research shows that antioxidants are beneficial for your vision. Antioxidants can be found in foods like dark leafy greens like spinach or kale. These foods can also help to prevent obesity-related diseases, like diabetes, or other systematic conditions that lead to vision loss, like glaucoma.
While there’s no way to completely safeguard your vision throughout your lifetime, these proactive steps can help to decrease your risk of developing a preventable vision health problem. Keep in mind that these tips are suggestions, not guarantees, and are not intended to replace the guidance of a medical professional or physician.
Whether you’re interested in learning more about vision health, or you’re looking for vision benefits and discounts, AARP Member Advantages can introduce you to solutions you can trust. Visit the AARP Member Advantages website to learn about AARP® MyVision Care provided through EyeMed, to help maintain your family’s vision health, or check out AARP® Vision Discounts provided by EyeMed. Visit online to learn about exclusive vision savings for members at some of your favorite retailers.
These articles present general information and are for informational purposes only. They are not a substitute for legal, financial, medical, or other professional advice.