Eye health maintenance in older people

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Adults above 45 years old are at a higher risk of suffering vision problems due to the eye’s natural, inevitable aging or certain eye diseases. The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) estimates that the population that suffers various eye diseases will reach 43 million by 2020. It is overwhelmingly important for older individuals to take good care of their eyes and maintain eye health.

Diabetes and high blood pressure are sight-threatening to the old

Generally speaking, individuals who have a family history of diabetes or high blood pressure are at a higher risk of getting certain eye diseases. Statistics show that African-Americans are more susceptible to eye diseases. In this sense, regular physical exams are important because they can help detect early signs of sight-threatening health problems, e.g. diabetes and high blood pressure. These diseases are potential causes of diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration, glaucoma and ocular hypertension. More specifically, untreated diabetes and high blood pressure will lead to ocular problems within a short term. As for the older group, receiving a comprehensive body examination periodically is a necessity because these two conditions occur to them more frequently than to youngsters.

Senior adults should be highly aware of vision changes

Vision changes can be warning signs of underlying vision problems. Double vision, hazy vision, light sensitivity, frequent light flashes, floaters, eye pain and swelling are common vision signs. In similar to other health problems, early treatment for those underlying eye health problems that cause negative vision signs is critical. Older adults should receive regular eye exams at least every two years even if there is no noticeable eye problem. Eye exams can detect underlying eye disorders such as pupil dilation, diabetic retinopathy and so on.

Stop smoking and use sunglasses

Besides receiving regular physical exams, there are still many things that can be done by the elderly to maintain eye health. Smoking is thought to bring a higher risk of developing age-related macular degeneration and cataracts, so that older people should get rid of smoking with a particular urgency. Some seniors in their 60s or 70s have a smoking experience for several decades. They are actually at a very high risk of AMD and lung cancer. Moreover, UV rays from sunlight are also closely associated with cataracts, so that sunglasses are still needed by the older population. It is unscientific that the old eyes are more resistant to harmful radiation.

Daily exercise and a healthy diet contribute to eye health

Some other aspects are related to daily exercise and diet. Studies from AAO point out that regular exercise such as walking can significantly lower the incidence of age-related macular degeneration. A healthy and balanced diet that contains plenty of nutrients especially antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids is essential for eye health maintenance. Fruits, vegetables and fish are some of the great sources of these nutrients.