Protecting Your Eyesight

Our eyes are remarkable-- allowing us to experience a world of colors, shapes, and details around us. However, we often take our vision for granted until it starts to deteriorate.

Leading Causes of Vision Problems

There are several common conditions and factors that can negatively impact our eyesight over time. Age-related macular degeneration is a leading cause of vision loss for older adults, causing blurred or distorted central vision. Cataracts, which cloud the eye's lens, are another age-related condition. Diabetic retinopathy is a potential complication of diabetes that can damage blood vessels in the retina.  

Other threats to vision health include glaucoma (optic nerve damage often caused by high eye pressure), dry eye disease, eye injuries, and excessive exposure to sunlight or blue light from digital screens. Poor vision puts us at higher risk for falls, depression, social isolation, and reduced independence.

Protecting Your Eyesight

While some degree of vision decline is natural with aging, there are steps we can take to preserve our eyesight as much as possible:

1. Get comprehensive dilated eye exams regularly as recommended by your eye doctor, which allows them to monitor for any developing issues.

2. Quit smoking and maintain a healthy diet rich in eye-friendly nutrients like lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamin C, and zinc.

3. Wear sunglasses outdoors to shield your eyes from harmful UV rays. Use proper eye protection when playing sports or doing home repairs/projects.

4. Give your eyes regular breaks from digital device use following the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.

5. If you have diabetes, work with your doctor to manage the disease and have yearly diabetic eye exams.

6. Be aware of your family's eye health history and potential genetic risks for conditions like glaucoma.

Our eyes play such a crucial role in how we experience life and the world around us. Prioritizing vision health through prevention and professional care is one of the wisest investments we can make for maintaining our sight and quality of life as we age.

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