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September – Healthy Aging Month: Tips for Healthy Vision

Many changes come with the aging process, however, vision loss and blindness do not have to be among them. Here are some tips for maintaining healthy vision as we age.

The most important thing we can do to reduce our risk of vision loss is to visit an eye care professional regularly for a comprehensive dilated eye exam.  Even if you are not having any visual complaints, sometimes age-related diseases have no symptoms.

A dilated eye exam is somewhat different than the basic eye exam usually done for glasses or contacts.  By having a dilated exam, your doctor is able to examine the back of the eyes and can detect any problems in the early stages, before vision loss occurs.

Here are some tips to follow for maintaining healthy vision now and later:

Eat a well-balanced diet.  Fruits and vegetables help keep your eyes healthy.  Dark, leafy greens such as spinach and kale are especially good for eye health.  Eating fish such as salmon and tuna, which are high in omega-3 fatty acids, have eye health benefits as well.

Maintain a healthy weight.  Being overweight can leave you at a higher risk for diabetes and, if not well-controlled, diabetes can cause complications with diabetic retinopathy or glaucoma, which can eventually lead to vision loss.

Don’t smoke.  Smoking increases the risk for cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, and other conditions that can damage the optic nerve.

Wear sunglasses while outside.  Sunglasses protect your eyes from harmful ultraviolet rays.  Choose sunglasses that block 99 to 100 percent of both UV-A and UV-B rays.

Healthy vision begins with early detection and treatment.  If you have been diagnosed with an eye condition, be sure to follow up as directed with your eye care professional and learn more about your treatment options.