Maintaining Healthy Vision as We Age
The effects of aging go beyond gray hair, creaky knees, and wrinkles. Consider the many age-related conditions that can affect your vision, including glaucoma, cataracts, and age-related macular degeneration. But, rest assured eye issues with aging are not inevitable.
Our bodies age differently from person to person. However, plenty of scientific evidence indicates keeping yourself physically fit and healthy decreases age-associated eye problems. That’s why Dr. Brian Will recommends all adults have comprehensive eye exams when they turn 40, and every couple of years afterward, to track changes as they age.
Protect Aging Eyes
Though it’s impossible to prevent a genetic history of macular degeneration and glaucoma, you can make specific lifestyle changes that reduce developing eye issues as you get older. Here are a few things you can control.
Smoking can lead to developing age-related macular degeneration — the leading cause of blindness. The risk remains high up to 20 years after quitting. An Australian study found that as many as 20% all cases of ARMD-related blindness could link to smoking. There are many reasons for the increased risk in smokers, including vascular constriction, oxidative stress, and cellular changes.
Maintain Your Healthy Weight
Obesity affects your blood sugar, blood pressure, and heart. But it can also affect your vision. Studies indicate overweight people are more likely to develop cataracts than those who maintain optimal weight. Unfortunately, losing the extra weight after gaining it doesn’t seem to prevent cataracts.
According to clinical trials, obesity increases the risk of glaucoma. This danger is due to the buildup of fluid inside the eye and the effects of insulin resistance, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
Wear Your Shades
Light-skinned, blue-eyed people have a higher risk of developing cataracts. A 1998 Johns Hopkins study linked sun exposure to an increase in cataracts. Increased exposure to ultraviolet light also increases the risk of ARMD. Researchers even theorize increased UV light changes the cells’ metabolism in the lens and retina.
Enjoy a Workout Routine
Add eye health as another benefit of exercise. A long-term study found people who are active and drink occasionally experience less vision loss over 20 years than those who don’t exercise and drink alcohol. Moderate drinking is limiting alcohol consumption to two drinks per day for men, one for women.
How Does This Apply to Me?
The first step to maximizing eye health is to consult with a board-certified ophthalmologist to evaluate your vision. Take advantage and receive a complimentary screening examination at Will Vision and Laser Centers at one of our convenient locations in Vancouver and Salem.