In the US, it’s been estimated that 12 million people over the age of 40 have some type of vision impairment! Yet, while the numbers are overwhelming, it doesn’t mean poor eyesight is simply inevitable as you age.
Many eye diseases can be quickly and easily diagnosed during a Comprehensive eye exam, Pediatric eye exam and Contact lens eye exam. If you were diagnosed with an eye disease, such as Cataracts, Glaucoma, Macular degeneration, Myopia, Diabetic retinopathy, or Dry eye, you may be overwhelmed by the diagnosis and confused about what happens next. Will you need medications or surgery – now or in the future? Is LASIK eye and vision surgery an option for you ? Our Blackfoot eye doctor is always ready to answer your questions about eye disease and Contact lenses.
In addition to taking advantage of our expert eye care services, our eye doctor shares 7 ways to improve and protect your eyes against problems.
- Eat a nutritious diet: Eating heart-healthy foods also helps to protect your vision. That means following a diet with minimal saturated fats and salt, a moderate amount of lean proteins (legumes and nuts are great options), whole grains, and plenty of fresh fruits and veggies. In particular, antioxidant-rich foods, such as strawberries, walnuts, and dark leafy greens, can help decrease your chances of developing cataracts and macular degeneration.
- Visit your eye doctor for eye exams: A comprehensive eye exam can pick up on problems you may not have noticed, because many eye diseases don’t present symptoms at the early stages. That’s why regular eye exams by an eye care professional (not the same as basic vision screening done at your local pharmacy!) are critical, even if you have no vision complaints. Plus, as you age, it’s common for your vision to naturally change, and keeping your prescription up to date is a no-brainer keeping your vision clear.
- Keep chronic health conditions stable: Many chronic health conditions, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, put your vision at a higher risk of complications. However, controlling your condition drastically reduces your chances of a problem. With diabetes, keeping blood sugars in the parameters recommended by your physician can help prevent diabetic retinopathy from developing and progressing. Controlling blood pressure also helps prevent retinal bleeding and swelling.
- Quit smoking: While genetics may be the number one risk factor for age-related macular degeneration, smoking is the number two risk factor! Smoking is also linked to cataract progression. You may not be able to control the genes you inherit, but you can control whether or not you smoke.
- Moisturize dry eyes: Dry eye syndrome is common, and we offer specialized dry eye exams and personalized treatments as a part of our eye care services. The frontline therapy for gritty and stinging dry eyes is lubricating eye drops, which can bring soothing relief and clarify your sight. There’s a variety of eye drops out there, and our eye doctor will recommend the most helpful type for your condition.
- Wear sunglasses & protective eyewear: Sunglasses with full UVA and UVB protection will keep your eyes safe against the dangers posed by the sun. However, we offer other types of safety eyewear in our eye care center, in addition to a fashionable collection of sunglasses. People often forget about safety goggles and sports glasses, which can prevent sight-threatening eye injuries when you’re working in the yard or around the house, or when you’re playing sports.
Blue light blocking eyewear is another essential item for eye safety. These glasses are fit with lenses that protect your vision against artificial blue light, which is emitted from all digital screens. Not only does blue light disrupt your sleep cycle and leave you feeling fatigued, but it has also been linked to a higher risk of eye disease.
- Discard old makeup: Eye care also involves keeping unsafe products out of your eyes. Old makeup, such as mascara and eyeliner, often breed bacteria that lead to eye infection and painful symptoms, such as redness, dryness, and itchiness. Be kind to your eyes by updating your eye makeup regularly!
We hope these healthy habits will help you safeguard your vision and independence and enhance your beautiful view of life for as long as possible!
Dennis N. Marshall, OD, your local Blackfoot eye doctor for eye exams and eye care
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