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  Healthigo

Tips to Protect Your Eyes From Age-Related Problems

By Dr. Ahmed El Khashab, Ophthalmologist


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Dr. Ahmed El Khashab
Ophthalmologist


March 03, 2020

As you grow older, so will your body and your eyesight age too. Whereas some changes can be attributed to heredity and some others to the dry weather, yet others are worsened by bad lifestyle habits like smoking.

On the flip side, age-related changes in eyesight can be treated by medicine or surgery, but why go into that when you can prepare for better eyesight even in old age by practising some good health tips. Here they are:

Age-Related Dry Macular Degeneration (AMD)

When the macula in the retina thins down with advancing age and forms protein clumps, it’s a sign that you suffer from AMD. Though you do lose a lot of your vision, AMD doesn’t cause total blindness. So, you won’t be able to read, drive, cook or be a handyman at home, but you will still have some vision.

AMD tis hereditary and first shows up in one’s 60s and by the time one is 70, one’s vision may be seriously damaged. There’s no treatment for this condition but its appearance may be controlled or prevented by eating a fruit and vegetable diet, and using over-the-counter supplements to control it.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is essentially a hereditary age-related problem that can lead to blindness when the optic nerve is damaged. It occurs when fluid builds up in front of the eyeball. Since its symptoms do not appear till the damage is acute, it is also known as the “silent disease”. To prevent such an outcome, it is recommended that after the age of 40, eye tests should be conducted every couple of years.

Presbyopia

Advancing age makes the eyes’ lenses lose their flexibility and therefore focusing on nearby objects becomes difficult. This condition is better-known as Presbyopia. To prevent getting Presbyopia, it si recommended that those in their mid-40s and 50s use reading glasses.

If you already suffer from Presbyopia, eye surgery is the best way of correcting this problem. Once you are treated for this, your distance vision will improve.

Cataracts

When the natural lens of our eyes turn discoloured or cloudy and your vision is hazy, you cannot focus well and any glare also affects your vision. The solution to this is usually surgery which gives you’re your normal vision by replacing the hazy lenses with new and synthetic ones.

You may experience this around the age of 50 but may go in for surgery only in your 60s or 70s. these days, cataracts are the No. 1 cause of loss of eyesight among senior citizens.

Dry Eyes

The lachrymal glands in our eyes produce tears to lubricate them and to protect the cornea. However, if your eyes have been exposed to many years of the harsh sun and wind, and you suffer from stress, high blood pressure and other ailments, your eyes could generate fewer tears. You suffer from dry eyes typically in your 50s when your eyes begin to sting or burn.

Floaters

As you age, experiencing floaters is very common. They are identified as black or white specks that float around in your line of vision. When the jelly-like liquid that is normally found behind the lens of the eyes begins to break down, floaters form. This is normally seen in one’s 50s and 60s. Floaters by themselves aren’t anything to worry about. However, if light flashes also occur, you need to have them checked by an eye doctor.

 

Prevention Tips:

You may not be able to control advancing glaucoma or macular degeneration if you have a history of it, but with regular lifestyle changes, you can reduce the risk of suffering from it. You can do this in these ways:

  1. Take a Change in Your Vision Seriously

If you begin to see any changes in your ability to see, see an eye doctor immediately. You might experience hazy or double vision, have red eyes or poor vision at night. Do flashes of light bother you or inflammation and swelling in the eyes or eyelids? If you say ‘yes’ to any of these symptoms, it’s time to see an eye specialist.

  1. Exercise Regularly

Whether young or old, the benefits of exercise can never be underestimated. According to a study, over 15,000 people who exercised regularly and drank sometimes experienced less loss of vision in a 20-year period than others. Other studies say that with regular exercise such as jogging and walking, the risk of AMD can be reduced up to 70%.

  1. Eat a Nutritious Diet

By eating a daily diet of antioxidants, Vitamin A and beta carotene, you can reduce your risk of glaucoma and presbyopia, among other eye problems. Plentiful colourful and green leafy vegetables in your diet will be extremely helpful to you. By taking Vitamin C fruits such as lemon, lime, orange,  lychee, papaya and strawberries, you can strengthen your vision. Besides, eating fish that have an abundance of omega-3 fatty acids will also reduce your risk of developing AMD and overall, you will have healthy eyes in old age.

To reduce suffering from dry eyes, eat tuna, salmon or halibut regularly. Also, try adding chia or flax seeds to your diet, and walnuts. Ensure you eat eggs regularly and that your cooking medium is either palm or soybean oil. 

  1. Quit Smoking

Smoking over a protracted period leads to eye problems in old age, such as AMD, cataracts, uveitis, etc. When you smoke about 15 cigarettes per day or more, you run the risk of developing cataracts and AMD. This problem is compounded when you smoke in addition to suffering from diabetes and high blood pressure. In such a situation, you can easily develop glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and Dry Eye syndrome.

  1. Wear Sunglasses

Whenever you’re out during the day, remember to wear sunglasses that protect you from the harmful glare of UV rays, especially between 10 am and 2 pm. Wear them on cloudy days too because UV rays can penetrate through clouds too.

By wearing sunglasses, you lower your risk of cataracts, which could, in turn, reduce your risk of cataracts, pinguecula and other eye problems.

 

Conclusion

From the above list of age-related eye problems, we need to manage our eyesight right through life. We can never take it for granted, else we will land up with one or more of the problems outlined above. So, take care of your eyes and enjoy having good eyesight all through your life.

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