3 Ways You Can Proactively Avoid Age-Related Vision Impairment

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Contrary to popular belief, vision loss is not inevitable in aging. According to the AAO, 2 in 3 adults believe that eye health naturally declines with age, mostly due to many seniors with poor vision.

Case in point, a recent JAMA study reveals that a third of older adults aged 71 and over have some form of vision impairment.

This is understandably worrisome given that vision issues are known to impact overall quality of life.

In fact, experts have even found that ocular problems can worsen other age-related health concerns like dehydration, falls, and stress. 

In reality, aging doesn’t equate to bad eyesight. More vision issues are present among older adults because their longer lives have exposed them to more accidents, elements, and potential diseases that can impact the eyes.

As such, it’s very much in one’s control to proactively prevent these age-related vision problems with a few mindful health practices. 

Mind Your Sun Exposure

The sun is responsible for numerous eye issues due to the UVA and UVB rays it emits. While sun exposure in short bursts is good for health, overexposure can result in serious cumulative damage.

Mind Your Sun

At the very least, this damage can cause sunburns or temporarily blurred vision. But, in worst cases, this can lead to partial or total vision loss as the sun can hasten retinal aging.

For instance, cataracts, which affect 20% of all seniors, can develop due to oxidative stress from UV exposure. 

To prevent this, specialists say that sunglasses are the first line of sun protection. Manufactured with UV-blocking filters, sunglasses can prevent rays from entering the eyes.

For those who already have some form of refractive abnormality, prescription sunglasses are also a good option, as these offer correction and protection.

Apart from the usual sun filters, these sunnies also use specialty lenses like single-vision, progressives, and cylindrical.

With these, there’s no need to switch between optical and sun eyewear while out and about. In order to suit every individual, this eyewear is offered by a diverse range of brands like Ray-Ban, Oakley, Versace, and Tory Burch. 

Limit Your Screen Use

Since 2020, screen time has greatly increased across all age groups. On average, adult Americans spend over seven hours on their gadgets daily.

Among seniors, Nielsen surveys have determined that their screen time is actually 12 times more than that of those aged 35 to 49.

This poses a danger to eye health since gadgets emit blue light. While blue light has some benefits, too much of it can hurt the eyes.

This is because this light wave can cause notable cellular damage. Over time, this can impair retinal cells, which can trigger many problems like age-related macular degeneration (AMD). 

The simplest way to prevent blue light damage is to limit screen time. Doing so prevents the excessive blue light from disrupting the circadian rhythm, thereby allowing you to sleep better.

As it happens, sleep is the time when the eyes can rest and recover from the day’s wear and tear. Apart from this, you can also invest in blue light filters.

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These can come in the form of glasses or monitor blockers that prevent these potentially harmful lights from reaching and entering the eyes.

Brands like Warby Parker offer specs with anti-blue light coatings that are designed for everyday use, so they can be worn whenever you use gadgets.

Go For Regular Eye

Go For Regular Eye Exams

Eye exams are notoriously underappreciated across the country. A 2021 NVISION survey said that nearly 10% of all respondents haven’t had an eye test in over five years.

However, eye exams are crucial as eye health can change very quickly. As a result, ophthalmologists suggest going for yearly eye exams, especially if you’re of a more advanced age.

If you’ve already got eye concerns, these regular check-ups will ensure your treatment plan is accurate and updated.

Otherwise, going in for these tests will help catch any early signs of illness before it progresses.

Case in point, a comprehensive exam can detect the first symptoms of diabetic retinopathy, which can cause blindness if left alone.

Even if you have 20/20 vision with no underlying problems, seeing a doctor regularly can provide you with tailored lifestyle tips to maintain your vision as you age.

The good news is that eye exams are easy to arrange nowadays, with some chain stores like Target even offering online booking. 

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