How to Protect Your Vision as You Age
By Gordon Wong, OD on October 28, 2017
Eye diseases such as glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy can become more likely as you age. In Americans over the age of 45, one in six will develop a sight-threatening condition. Fortunately, our doctors at Gordon Wong Eye Designs & Optometry in La Jolla, CA offer vision care treatments that can minimize and reduce the effects of age-related eye diseases. Here, we will discuss several tips on how to protect your vision as you age.
Know Your Family History
Like many medical conditions, some eye-related diseases are genetic. Age, ethnic background, and medical history can all play a key role in determining your risk factors. For instance, if there is a history of high blood pressure or diabetes in your family, you are more likely to develop eye diseases as you age.
Be Aware of Warning Signs
Often, patients ignore symptoms as long as they are not painful. However, it is important to see your optometrist whenever you notice changes in your eyesight, such as hazy vision, double vision, red eyes, floaters, light flashes, or difficulty seeing in low light. If symptoms are accompanied by pain or swelling, seek medical attention right away.
Receive Regular Health Examinations
When it comes to diabetes and high blood pressure, early detection is key. These diseases can lead to more serious health complications, including vision problems, if left untreated. More specifically, high blood pressure and diabetes can lead to total vision loss from macular degeneration, eye strokes, and diabetic retinopathy.
Avoid Tobacco Products
It is no surprise that tobacco products can have a negative effect on your eye health. Patients who smoke increase their chances of developing uveitis, cataracts, and macular degeneration.
Protect Your Eyes from Ultraviolet Light
Anytime you are outside, it is important to wear sunglasses with 100 percent UV protection. This preventative practice can help prevent pingueculae, cataracts, and other age-related eye issues.
Eat a Balanced Diet
Research studies have suggested that a healthy, balanced diet can help prevent age-related eye diseases and protect your vision. Things to consider for optimal eye health include:
- Antioxidants: A diet rich in antioxidants, such as fruits and dark leafy greens, can decrease the risk of developing cataracts.
- Whole Grains: Refined flour and sugary carbohydrates may actually increase your risk of eye diseases. Choose fiber-rich, whole-grain breads.
- Protein: Fish, legumes, nuts, and eggs are excellent sources of protein. It is beneficial to limit the consumption of red meats and dairy products.
- Healthy Fats: Omega-3 essential fatty acids are an excellent source of healthy fats. These can be found in fish, walnuts, flaxseed oil, and canola oil. Foods rich in omega-3s are helpful in preventing dry eyes and the development of cataracts.
- Hydration: Lots of water will help your body stay properly hydrated, and reduce the risk of dry eyes. Other healthy options include fresh, organic vegetable and fruit juices and herbal teas.
- Limited Sodium Intake: Because high sodium intake can contribute to dry eyes and cataracts, it is important to be mindful of how much you consume. Preservatives in packaged food are often high in sodium. Choose fresh foods whenever possible, and try to stay below 2,000 milligrams of sodium per day.
Attend Routine Eye Examinations
Regular eye exams are important for everyone. However, if you are genetically prone to age-related eye diseases, it is crucial that you receive a comprehensive eye exam at least once every two years.
Learn More about Age-related Eye Diseases
If you are concerned about your predisposition to age-related eye diseases, schedule a consultation with one of our doctors to learn more. Call our office at (858) 454-4699 or contact us online.
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Dr. Wong and his staff have proven to be the best eye doctor that I have ever visited. He is extremely thorough and up-to-date professionally. He gives you plenty of time. I never feel rushed.Kathrine Holladay