It’s officially September! Besides signaling the end of summer and the beginning of fall, September is also Healthy Aging Month. What comes to mind when we hear, “healthy aging” are things like a rigorous skincare regimen, trendy workout classes, fad dieting, and getting your hair colored each month to keep the greys away. However, we’re taking this opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of taking care of our eyes as we get older.
Keep reading for five ways you can take care of your aging eyes this month.
We have all learned the hard way that when you get to a certain age, you can’t eat the way you used to and keep your figure. But, more important than a trim waist, a nutritious diet is vital for your overall health as you get older.
Specifically for your eye health, eating the right foods can prevent age-related macular degeneration (ARMD), a gradual deterioration of the eye’s macula. The macula is the central portion of the retina – the photosensitive layer of cells in the back of the eye responsible for sight – which allows us to see fine details.
Nutrients like lutein, zeaxanthin, and omega 3 fatty acids are specifically protective of the macula; think orange and yellow vegetables like sweet potato and squash for foods high in lutein; dark leafy greens like spinach and kale for zeaxanthin; fish and nuts for omega-three fatty acids.
Macular degeneration can also be caused by sun exposure. You’re taught to slather sunscreen on your skin to protect it from sunburns, cancer, and signs of aging, such as wrinkles and moles. However, your corneas – which can be considered the “skin” covering your eye – can also experience sunburn, discolorations, and growths from sun exposure. To protect your eyes from sun damage, make sure you’re wearing sunglasses that offer 100% protection from UV rays.
Check out our online store to find a pair of shades that fit your style and protect your eyes.
Those of us who are parents are quick to ask our children to hand over the TV remotes and tablets after too much screen time. However, after the kids have gone to sleep, how much longer do we stay up catching up on our favorite episodes while simultaneously scrolling through social media and sending late-night responses to emails we didn’t get to earlier that day? Overuse of digital devices is just as harmful to adults as it is to children.
Too much screen time can also lead to chronic neck and back pain – another thing that doesn’t get better with age – because of poor posture while using devices. Whether you’re sitting at your desk hunched over your laptop or slouching on your couch while sending texts, your posture is damaging your spine. Make sure to take breaks from sitting to walk around, stand, or stretch. Another tip is to invest in a standing desk or, buy a desk chair that provides ample back support.
As we age, we start looking in the mirror and noticing the bags under our eyes getting heavier, crows feet getting deeper, and our eyelids are getting...droopier?
A droopy eyelid can be nothing more than the result of a sleepless night spent tossing and turning, easily fixed with a cold spoon or jade roller. However, if you’re getting plenty of beauty sleep and still wake up to droopy eyelids, it could be dermatochalasis, a bilateral eyelid drooping caused by aging, or something more dangerous.
Keeping up with your annual eye exams and making regular visits to the ophthalmologist can help you clear up uncertainty about what’s causing your eye droop. In the meantime, make sure you’re getting plenty of sleep so your eyes can get the rest they need to work their best.
To maintain a lifetime of healthy vision, the American Optometric Association recommends a comprehensive eye exam every two years for adults ages 18 to 60, and annual exams for seniors age 61 and older.
However, many adults stop going to the ophthalmologist for routine checkups and eye exams because they have no obvious vision problems. It’s not until they start holding the restaurant menus further away from their faces to read the specials or tossing the car keys to their spouse to avoid driving at night that they realize they’re experiencing vision loss. By that time, it might be too late.
“We know that many eye diseases become more common with age, but that most vision loss is preventable or treatable,” says Joshua Ehrlich, an assistant professor of ophthalmology and visual sciences at the University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center. “For those with risk factors like diabetes and certain other medical conditions or a family history of eye disease, receiving regular eye care could be key to avoiding vision loss.”
Don’t wait until it’s too late! Healthy aging starts with prevention so schedule your eye exam with 2020 On-site today to start off Healthy Aging Month on the right foot (or eye!).
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