Deteriorating eyesight is something you can rarely avoid as one gets older; it becomes more and more difficult to focus on close objects even for people who have enjoyed 20 -20 vision in their younger years.
Most people start noticing a gradual deterioration of their near vision in their mid to late 40’s. However, there are far more serious problems that can affect your eyesight in later years. In fact the leading causes of both complete and partial sight loss are age- related macular degeneration (AMD), glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy (which affects those with diabetes). Cataracts also largely affect older people causing blurred vision. However, there is good news. According to the RNIB, between 50 and 70% of sight loss in older people is due to preventable or treatable causes.
So how do you reduce the risk of developing vision problems?
Stopping smoking - According to studies, smokers are twice as likely to lose their sight as non smokers. Smoking is linked to glaucoma, age related macular degeneration and cataracts.
Wearing sunglasses - The UVA and UVB rays in sunlight can damage the eyes and increase the risk of developing cataracts and AMD. Look out for sunglasses that carry the CE mark.
Having regular eye tests - At whatever age, having an eyesight examination every 2 years means problems can be spotted early, which can often make treatment more effective.
Eye Drops - Eye drops are also a good way of protecting the eye as they can help to reduce the strain on the eye and can help clear away environmental dust and toxins from the eye.
Watch your weight - Being overweight increases the risk of eye health problems – it also increases the risk of developing diabetes which can lead to diabetic retinopathy and severe eye damage.
Nourishing vision - Studies show that certain nutrients may help to protect the eyes from sight stealing diseases. Plant chemicals called anti oxidants, for example, have been shown to protect against AMD, glaucoma and cataracts as they may neutralise harmful substances called free radicals. Among the anti oxidants thought to help fight eye damage are lutein and zeaxanthin which are both found in green leafy vegetables. Lycopene found is tomatoes can also help as can beta carotene found in carrots, pumpkin and papaya and anthocyanidins found in bilberries and blueberries. Experts also believe that minerals may help maintain good eye health, including zinc found in seafood, nuts and seeds and selenium found in brazil nuts, tuna and sunflower seeds.
So whatever your age making the right lifestyle choices now could save your eyesight in the future.