Written by: Julia King, O.D.
Board Certified Optometric Physician
While aging is a fact of life that one cannot escape, there are certain measures that can be taken to ensure the best possible vision as you age. The following lifestyle modifications can help delay or prevent certain eye diseases.
Regular Eye Examinations
One of the most important things you can do is schedule yearly eye examinations. During a dilated eye exam, your eye doctor carefully checks for eye diseases such as macular degeneration, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy. Early detection of these diseases may help prevent vision loss.
The food you eat can affect the health of your eyes. Eating a healthy diet rich in green, leafy vegetables and fruits may help prevent certain eye diseases. Choose dark green or brightly colored fruits and vegetables to obtain the most antioxidants. Omega-3 fatty acids may also help protect your eyes against diseases such as dryness and macular degeneration. Omega-3s can be found in cold water fish such as salmon, tuna, sardines, and mackerel. A good quality fish oil supplement or a vegetarian supplement containing black currant seed oil or flax seed oil can also be a helpful addition to your diet.
Smoking can promote eye disease by damaging blood vessels and reducing the blood flow to the eyes as well as increasing the amount of toxins your eyes absorb. This elevates the risk for eye diseases such as diabetic and hypertensive retinopathy as well as macular degeneration. If you smoke, ask your doctor about a program to help you quit.
You can also help protect your eyes by avoiding prolonged exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays and high-energy blue light. You can achieve this by wearing good quality UV-blocking sunglasses while outdoors. Wearing a wide-brimmed hat can add extra protection against the harmful rays. There are also new coatings available that reduce the amount of high-energy blue light emitted from your computer and other devices.
Our doctors at the Eye Specialists of Mid Florida believe in being proactive in your eye care. Please contact our office with any questions or concerns.