It’s no secret that you won’t stay young forever. As you age, bodies change, and no matter how much you exercise and eat healthy, certain aspects of your health will deteriorate. This is true for bodies, stamina, and also for vision. Not only do you start to develop bags under your eyes and feel a bit more tired as you grow older, but the actual vision health of your eyes can also change for the worse.
Just because your eyes may naturally become more strained over time, it doesn’t mean that you will have health issues later in life. By understanding the potential complications and being proactive with regular vision checks, you can still have great vision health even in your older years. To help you out, let’s look at some warning signs, common ailments, and what you can do to have strong and dependable healthy vision for life.
After 40+ years of using your eyes to read, drive, work, and watch numerous Super Bowls, wear and tear are inevitable. In most cases, your ability to see items up close will start to decline. This often happens due to an ailment called presbyopia, which is a deterioration of the lens inside the eye that causes it to lose its natural shape. This is why many older people need to wear reading glasses or even multifocal lenses to see near, far, and in between. As you get into your 50s and later, this condition can worsen and your glasses may have to be continually updated to retain a clear healthy vision that you desire.
It is important to remember that just because you see differently, it doesn’t mean that you have a disease or a bad condition. As you age, it is perfectly normal to lose focus and the sharpness that you knew as a youth. It is also normal to have issues distinguishing colors, such as black from blue, and also to have issues separating foreground from backgrounds. It is also common to need more light in a room to see better. To keep up with the natural progression of your eyes, it is important to attend your normal yearly vision check eye exams and correct these smaller issues with reading glasses.
While some issues are typical, you should be aware of the warning signs of more advanced eye issues. For instance, if your vision often fluctuates, even when looking at the same object, it may be a sign of diabetes or high blood pressure. A loss of side vision could point to possible glaucoma. If images you see frequently become distorted, it could mean that you are experiencing muscular degeneration. These are more serious conditions where you should see an optometrist right away. Still, remember that not every abnormality is a cause for concern. For example, if you are seeing flashes or particles floating across your vision, it is typically an effect of the natural aging process and it will not inhibit your vision.
Several common eye issues can affect your vision health as you age, some of them being more serious than others. For instance, while most people deal with nearsightedness issues later in life, others also struggle with farsightedness, also known as hyperopia. This is where objects that are further away are blurry and out of focus. This usually occurs because the eyeball is now too short so the light waves come in contact with the retina before the picture comes into focus. Typically, a recent vision check and updated glasses can fix this issue.
Many eye issues affect the retina, which is especially dangerous as retinal disorders often result in blindness. One such dangerous disorder is diabetic retinopathy, which involves the small blood vessels in the eyes and can lead to blurred or cloudy vision. Retinal detachment is another condition that can be particularly distressing because it causes wavy vision that makes it appear that you are underwater as well as creating dark shadows in your field of vision.
Then, of course, there are cataracts, which is a cloudiness of the eye that occurs as many men grow older. Cataracts typically start to form after the age of 40, but many people don’t notice the effects until they are closer to age 60. Living a unhealthy lifestyle will greatly increase your chance of developing cataracts, as bad habits, including smoking and drinking, are often a culprit.
The good news about cataracts is that the issue can be easily resolved with surgery. The cost of the procedure can be partially covered by several Medicare plans, and it involves replacing the cloudy lens in front of your eye with an artificial implant. The surgery usually takes about an hour. If the cataract is very mild, it may also be treated with a new eyeglass prescription.
The point of referencing these warning signs and potential diseases is to reinforce the importance of prioritizing healthy vision and implementing smart healthy vision habits as you grow older. A good start is having a healthy diet and taking supplements that supply the best nutrients for your eyes. A lack of vitamin A is one of the leading reasons for blindness in the world, so incorporating it in your diet is essential. Vitamin A is found in liver, eggs, and dairy products. Also, omega-3 fatty acids are especially helpful for preventing dry eye, which can lead to other diseases if not treated.
Another great way to safeguard your vision health is to wear eye protection whenever you are outside or engaging in most physical activities. Of course, sunglasses are your main defense against harmful UV rays, which over time, can cause cataracts and similar conditions that can inhibit your vision. Goggles or similar protection are also important when working in construction or any job where something dangerous can get in your eyes.
If you currently wear glasses or contacts, you’ll want to use them properly as improper storage or handling can cause further damage to your eyes. You should only wear contacts as directed and never wear them for an extended time. It is also important to always wash your hands before handling your contacts and make it a habit of cleaning and sterilizing your case monthly.
Your vision health is one of the most important attributes you possess, so keeping your eyes fresh and clear is essential. Take proper care now and your healthy eyes will remain strong even as you grow older.
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