Focusing on Healthy Eyes for Seniors
Every senior is going to experience some degree of a drop-off in their eyesight as they grow older. But the good news is that through lifestyle choices, regular check-ups and maintaining a watchful eye on your eyes, you can enjoy a life in focus for many years after you turn 65.
How to Keep Your Eyes Healthy
One of the easiest ways to maintain your eye’s health is through diet. You should eat foods that are rich in antioxidants such as vitamins A and C, which can be found in fish and leafy green vegetables. When you don’t get enough antioxidants or you over consume saturated fats, free radical reactions can take place, potentially harming the macula. Just as elsewhere in the body, when you eat a diet of high-fat foods, this can constrict the blood vessels around the eye, possibly leading to serious vision issues.
Other lifestyle choices can affect your vision, too. If you smoke, quit. Aside from all the other documented health problems that come with smoking, it also exposes your eyes to higher than normal degrees of oxidative stress, increasing your risk of things that can harm the health of your eyes.
Another important choice that affects your eyes is exercise. Exercise improves blood circulation and that improves the amount of oxygen that goes to your eyes. Making sure you wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from UV rays when you are outside and being mindful of taking breaks and setting your computer up for optimal eye health are two other ways to help ensure healthy eyes.
Reasons to Visit Your Optometrist
On top of the health benefits, having healthy eyes can also help with lower premiums or deductibles whether that be in your life insurance policy or health coverage. For these reasons, you shouldn’t be afraid to visit the optometrist for regular check-ins. Additionally, there are several things you should be on the look out for in between visits to the optometrist:
Cloudy eyes – this is one of the best indications that cataracts may be forming on one or both of your eyes. Cataracts remain the leading cause of vision loss among seniors in the United States. Surgery remains the most effective way to treat cataracts.
Blurring or the onset of tunnel vision – the loss of peripheral vision, nausea, halos around lights or blurred vision are indications of glaucoma. Glaucoma results from increased pressure on the eye cavity that creates nerve damage. Although there is no cure, medications and surgeries can slow its progression.
Spotting – fatty deposits that build up under eyelids resulting in spots could be an indication of high blood lipids. High blood lipids may indicate the presence of diabetes, high cholesterol or even cancer. If you notice spots, you should schedule an examination as soon as possible.
Yellowish eye hue – hepatitis, cirrhosis and gallbladder problems may result in the production of too much bilirubin, a brownish-yellow compound that is produced by the liver when it attempts to break down red blood cells.
Unable to close and eye or excessive watering – these symptoms are an indication of Bell’s palsy which is a temporary paralysis on the side of a face. Bell’s palsy generally clears up in about 10 days, but you should visit a doctor to rule out anything more serious.
Dark and blurry spots – when a small and central portion of a person’s retina begins to fail, age-related macular degeneration may be at fault. Although it is not painful, there is no cure, but doctors can sometimes prescribe treatments to slow the progression.
Bulging eyes – this is an indication of an overactive thyroid, also known as Graves’ disease. Doctors can treat this condition with medication or surgery.
The presence of a stye – if a small and red bump appears on your eyelid and does not go away, this could mean cancer is present.