Did you know that there are types of visual impairment that cannot be corrected even with prescription eyeglasses and contact lenses? Furthermore, visual impairment is associated with loss of independence as well as a higher risk for chronic health issues, injuries, and social isolation, even depression.
But senior adults who have higher risks for visual impairment, either caused by injuries or illnesses, shouldn’t despair because there are ways to save your eyesight and maintain your independence. You will, at the very least, learn successful coping mechanisms for your vision changes and, thus, enjoy a good quality of life despite the challenges of visual impairment.
Have a Regular Eye Exam
The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that adult 65 years old and above should have a regular eye exam once every one to two years. Regular eye exams are conducted by ophthalmologist to determine the risks for eye diseases as well as the presence of eye issues, such as cataracts and glaucoma, and the monitoring of existing conditions. You can have a comprehensive eye exam in venues like Pearle Vision or Sears as well as get your prescription eyewear and eye medications.
Know the Signs of Vision Loss
You may not be immediately aware about your worsening vision issues because of the gradual changes. But as you age, your vision loss will become apparent because of your increased difficulty in reading and writing, watching television shows and movies, driving a car, shopping for products, recognizing faces, and performing daily activities. Even your family and friends will notice your failing vision, such as when you squint your eyes or tilt your head when focusing on objects, step hesitantly especially on surfaces with different heights, and bump into or knock over objects, even keep missing your things.
Make Healthy Lifestyle Choices
While many eye diseases are unpreventable (e.g., hereditary) and incurable, many are also either preventable or manageable. You can make sensible lifestyle choices that can decrease your risks for eye diseases and increase your chances for a better life.
- Choose food rich in Vitamins C and E, lutein, zinc, and zeaxanthin, which are found in citrus fruits, nuts, vegetable oils, dark green leafy vegetables, whole grains, and cold water fish.
- Quit smoking, if you’re a smoker. Even secondhand smoke can affect your eyesight, particularly in increasing the risks for age-related macular degeneration and, cataracts as well as cardiovascular diseases that, in turn, indirectly affect eye health.
- Maintain normal levels in blood pressure, glucose and cholesterol. Otherwise, your risks for vision loss also increases, such as in the case of diabetes.
- Exercise regularly. Even brisk walking for 30 minutes three times a week will contribute to better eye health.
Don’t forget to wear eye protection, too, such as sunglasses and safety goggles.