Being proactive about eye health becomes increasingly important as we get older. Here are six suggestions to keep your eyes functioning well and seeing clearly.
1. Maintain overall health: Nutrition and an active lifestyle are vital parts of maintaining good ocular health, as there is a definitive connection between eye health and systemic health. Make sure that you not only have regularly scheduled eye examinations but that you see your primary care doctor as well.
2. Seek out specific care for over 40 eyes: As we age, our natural lens becomes less flexible, and we slowly lose accommodation, or the ability to easily focus at a close distance. Having a doctor you trust to help you transition into this phase, called “presbyopia,” is of utmost importance. A proper glasses or contact lens prescription makes a difference in both quality of vision and quality of life. There are also surgical options to manage these changes, and medical technology becomes increasingly more impressive every single year.
3. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate: Dry eye symptoms are the chief complaint of patients 40+. Screen time causes our natural blink rate to decrease, and the surface of the eye feels the impact of less hydration. Drinking more water is a major step in the right direction, and adding a supplemental lubrication drop can also help.
4. Protect against the sun: Sun protection is invaluable, especially as we age. UV light has a direct link to the progression of cataracts, macular degeneration and skin cancer. Make sure your sunglasses have 100% UVA and UVB protection.
5. Practice the 20/20/20 rule: For every 20 minutes of short-range vision—looking at a computer, cell phone or book— take a break and focus on something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This reminds our eyes to blink and spread more tears over the front surface of the eye and helps our eye muscles relax.
6. Schedule check-ups: You don’t need symptoms to see your eye doctor. Many preventable and treatable eye diseases are caught on a routine eye examination. Being proactive with ocular health is imperative to maintain the quality of vision that we want as we age.
Natalie Eads, OD, specializes in the co-management of patients before and after surgical procedures with extensive experience with LASIK and cataract procedures. Dr. Eads also provides care for patients with ocular diseases, including macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataracts and more. She is certified by the State Board of Examiners in Optometry to treat and manage ocular disease and is a member of the Greater Atlanta Optometric Association.
Georgia Eye Partners • www.gaeyepartners.com • 404.531.9988