Welcome to the month of September. In this month, we raise awareness about eye care practices for maintaining healthy vision as you age. The mind and body changes as you age, hence, it is important to take care of your health and maintain a healthy lifestyle in order to prevent age-related health problems. With increasing age, there is an increased risk for eye conditions such as cataract, age related macular degeneration, glaucoma, dry eyes etc. Although having vision changes with increasing age is normal, losing vision or becoming blind is not. It is extremely important to get comprehensive eye exams as one advances in age so that eye diseases, if present, can be detected early and treated on time to prevent or reduce the rate of progression. Taking care of the overall body health also has an impact on the eye, therefore, it is necessary for systemic conditions (such as hypertension, diabetes, cholesterol levels etc.) to be managed properly to prevent retinopathy (damage to the retina).
Some of the common age-related conditions are:
1.Â Â Â Presbyopia which makes it difficult to read tiny things at close distance.
2.Â Â Â Dry eyes which may occur due to hormonal imbalance and drug interaction. It may lead to tearing, sandy or foreign body sensation. Women are more affected than men.
3.Â Â Â Cataract which causes cloudy or blurry vision because of an opacity in the transparent lens.
4.Â Â Â Glaucoma damages the optic nerve which causes loss of peripheral vision and may eventually lead to blindness if not treated on time.
5.Â Â Â Age-related macular degeneration affects central vision due to damage to the macula which is the light sensitive part of the back of the eye. It makes it harder to read, drive or recognize faces.
6.Â Â Â Diabetic retinopathy which is associated with high blood sugar levels affects the blood vessels in the retina and causes blurry or fluctuating vision.
Here are some tips to help you care for your eyes as you advance in age;
1.Â Â Â Have regular comprehensive eye examinations.
2.Â Â Â Visit your eye care professional immediately you notice any vision changes.
3.Â Â Â Eat healthy, nutrient dense foods.
4.Â Â Â Exercise regularly and be more active.
5.Â Â Â Take care of your general health. Manage any underlying health conditions (such as hypertension, diabetes, autoimmune diseases)Â properly.
6.Â Â Â Avoid smoking.
7.Â Â Â Know your family medical and ocular history.
8.Â Â Â Wear protective eyewear when at work and when out in the sun.
It is not possible to stop time or the aging process but it is possible to maintain a healthy vision even in your old age by taking care of your eye health and general heath. Prevention, early detection and adequate treatment are the keys to maintaining a healthy vision.