Vision loss increases with age, and one in every six adults deals with a sight-threatening eye problem. Some of the leading causes of blindness and low vision are age-related diseases like macular degeneration, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma, but there are ways we can fight back.
Does your family have a history of diabetes or high blood pressure? Are you over 65 years old or an African-American over age 40? Factors like these contribute to your risk of developing sight-threatening eye diseases, so make sure you’re aware of them.
The way you live can have a huge impact on your overall health, and that includes your eyes. Eating healthy foods, including plenty of fruits and colorful or dark green vegetables will help your eyes stay healthy, as will regular exercise. And as we can improve our health by maintaining these kinds of good habits, we can also stay healthier by avoiding bad habits like smoking, as smoking increases a person’s risk of developing a number of sight-threatening conditions.
Chronic diseases like high blood pressure and diabetes can cause numerous problems if undiagnosed and untreated, including eye problems. Diabetes in particular can lead to vision loss due to diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration, and untreated high blood pressure can lead to eye strokes.
The only way your eye doctor will be able to catch an eye disease early on to begin managing and treating it will be if you are scheduling your regular eye exams. Catching these diseases early is often the difference between vision loss and successfully saving the patient’s sight.
Whenever you notice a change in your vision, you should come see us right away. It could be something as simple as needing an updated prescription for your glasses or contacts, but symptoms like red eyes, flashes of light, a sudden increase in the number of floaters you see, and eye pain or swelling may be signs of serious eye problems that need immediate attention.
Even people with no predisposition for eye disease need eye protection from the sun, but it’s not as simple as grabbing the nearest cheap pair of sunglasses you can find. Make sure that the pair you wear block 100 percent of UV-A and UV-B rays before you buy them, because sunglasses that don’t block UV rays can actually be worse than no sunglasses at all.
If you’d like more info on ways you can protect your vision, such as dietary recommendations or advice on the best pair of sunglasses, don’t hesitate to give us a call or drop by our practice! And if it’s been a while since your last eye exam, start the new year off right by scheduling one with us!