The Importance Of Eye Health In Seniors
You were probably told not to sit too close to the T.V or to read in the dark. Although these are myths and won’t damage the health of the eyes, both will likely cause eyestrain. Fact or myth, it is important to take care of your eye health.
As you enter your forties and fifties, you may start to experience age-related vision changes. It is only a matter of time before you need glasses for reading. As you enter your sixties, seventies and beyond, you are at a higher risk of developing age-related eye diseases and conditions. These diseases include age-related macular degeneration, cataract, diabetic eye disease, glaucoma, low vision and dry eye. This is why it is important to take the accurate steps to maintain your overall health and the health of your eyes.
Some normal changes you may notice as a senior:
- Focus – Eyes take longer to adjust and focus. For example, it takes longer for eyes to adjust to changes in light if you are going from an area that is bright to one that dimly lit. This can become a challenge while driving at certain times of the day or when there are changes in weather. As a result, it is important to recognize these changes and begin to limit driving at night or during rainy and cloudy weather.
- Dry eyes – As you age your eyes produce fewer tears. Dry eyes can cause burning, stinging and other eye discomfort, which can also impact vision. One of the easiest and most effective solutions to reduce dry eyes is using artificial tears (eye drops) throughout the day.
- Peripheral vision – A loss of peripheral vision is a normal part of the aging process. Peripheral loss increases with age and usually by the time you reach your 70’s and 80’s, 20 to 30 percent of your peripheral vision is lost. To ensure your safety turning your head left and right will give you a better range of vision.
- Color blindness – While you will not likely become color blind, flowers and other objects may appear less colorful. As you get older a decrease in color vision is normal. The cells in the retina responsible for normal color vision decline in sensitivity and decrease our ability to see the brightness and contrast in colors.
Be comforted in knowing there are things you can do to maintain and protect your eye health and decrease your risk of developing eye related diseases and conditions:
- Rest – A good night’s sleep can do wonders. When you sleep your eyes get the continuous lubrication it needs to clear out irritants such as dust, allergens, and smoke. While it is important to get proper rest, don’t be too quick to use blackout shades. Research also suggests exposure to natural light is necessary to maintain a normal sleep-wake cycle.
- Eat well – While it is obviously important to overall health, eating a healthy, nutritious diet may increase your chance of warding off potential eye related problems. Nutrients including omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, zinc, and vitamins A, C and E are good for protecting your eye health.
- Unplug – Limit time on electronic devices and screens. While sitting too close to the T.V. does not cause any long-term damage, it does impact the eye muscles. Continuously staring at a computer screen, television, and handheld devices can cause eyestrain, irritation from dry or watery eyes and blurred vision.
Regular eye exams with your optometrist are necessary when caring for your eye health. Your optometrist will evaluate changes in vision and examine the eye tissue to check for cataract and other potential issues.
At Paradise Living Centers we make our residents’ health a priority, which includes any concerns they may have with their eyes and changes in vision. To learn more about our services or if you would like to tour our Central Phoenix or Paradise Valley homes, contact us at (480) 878 – 4112.