Tips For Eye Health in Senior Citizens
1. Get checked by your Optometrist or Ophthalmologist, regularly
As we age, sight-threatening eye conditions become more common, such as glaucoma, cataracts and macular degeneration. The good news is that, if detected early, much of the visual problems associated with these conditions can be mitigated, in particular with regards to cataracts and glaucoma.
It is very important to have regular checks with your Optometrist (e.g. once per year), and, if required, with your Ophthalmologist (e.g. if you have a chronic eye condition like macular degeneration and glaucoma).
Regular screening and early detection of any changes can lead to the best outcomes for vision. Also, be self-vigilant with your eyes. Are straight lines becoming wavy? Is your vision going off? Are there flashing lights in the peripheries of your vision? Don’t delay, get these symptoms checked out sooner rather than later, as they might lead to something serious if not attended to promptly.
2. Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables.
A healthy diet is good for your eye health, along with many other health benefits. The macula is an important part of your eye, on which most of the light for fine detail vision is focused.
Foods rich in vitamin A, C, E and zinc are great for macula health. These include plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, especially green leafy vegetables and those from a variety of colours; some nuts and fish are also healthy for the eyes.
Similarly for glaucoma, fruit and vegetables rich in vitamins, nitrates (e.g. green, leafy vegetables, omega-3 oils (e.g. oily fish, chia seeds) are great for optic nerve health.
3. Keep fit and avoid smoking
Fitness, including regular gentle cardiovascular exercise, is great for eye health, as it is for the rest of the body. Regular exercise is good for the circulation within the eye, for glaucoma, and general ageing. Smoking, including passive smoking, is harmful to the eyes (especially the macula) and should be avoided.
4. Be sun smart
Much age-related eye disease is related to lifetime exposure to harmful ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun. Around the eyes, the skin of the eyelids can develop skin cancers (and these can become more common with age).
Sunglasses, a wide-brimmed hat and sunscreen applied to the face when outdoors is protective. Within the eye, lifelong exposure to harmful UV light can aggravate significant eye conditions such as cataracts and macular degeneration. Sunglasses can be helpful to protect the eye from harmful UV light from the sun.
5. Enjoy these two precious jewels!
Seeing, hearing, being alive – these are small miracles that we often take for granted daily. The eyes are precious jewels, worth far more than their weight in gold – enjoy using them to read, see beautiful things and people, but don’t take them for granted.