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How to Maintain Good Vision Over 60

Experiencing changes to your vision is a natural part of the aging process, but these changes shouldn’t have to compromise your lifestyle and overall health.

It’s well-known that individuals in their 60s are especially prone to experiencing issues with their vision: for this reason, taking a diligent and comprehensive approach to eye care is of the utmost importance for seniors in this age group.

Picture of an older person squinting

There are a variety of components that go into safeguarding your vision as you age, which are detailed below. From scheduling regular eye exams to tweaking your diet, maintaining clear vision over 60 requires an earnest, year-round effort on the part of senior citizens.

 

Recognizing Early Warning Signs of Vision Problems

In between eye doctor visits, seniors over 60 should remain extra vigilant of any changes in their vision. If you experience any of the following symptoms, you may have the early warning signs of a serious eye health problem:

  • Are you noticing your vision going from clear to fuzzy in a matter of hours, causing things to appear blurry sometimes but not so much at other times? Such frequent changes in your visual clarity could indicate diabetes, or perhaps hypertension (high blood pressure), which can damage the tiny blood vessels leading to the retina.
  • Dark patches in the middle of your vision could mean that you’re suffering from age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The leading cause of blindness in people over 50, AMD affects the macula, which is the part of the retina responsible for central vision. As the macula deteriorates, a blind spot takes shape in the middle of your vision.
  • Although the majority of eye diseases are painless, there are some conditions or injuries that can cause eye pain, such as dry eye, a scratched cornea, glaucoma, and ocular cancer.
  • If you’re noticing a brownish tint to your vision, then this is likely an indicator of cataracts – a clouding of the lens that causes vision to be dulled and slightly “dirty.”
  • If you seem to be losing your peripheral or side vision, this could be a sign of glaucoma.
  • Spots or floaters in your eyesight are typically caused by particles floating around in your eye’s fluid, which appear as shadowy images. Though they can be rather annoying, they’re usually harmless, and pose little to no threat to your vision. If you’re seeing more floaters than normal, however, and they’re accompanied by flashing lights, this could indicate a potential tear in your retina, known as retinal detachment. This is a very serious issue that should be addressed immediately.

Other trouble signs to look out for include double vision, hazy vision, swelling, and difficulty seeing in low-light settings.

If you experience any of these symptoms, be sure to consult with an eye specialist. This is the right step to take even if the symptom is short-lived, and is gone by the time of your appointment; eye symptoms should never be ignored, especially by those who are over 60.

How Diet & Nutrition Can Help You Maintain Your Vision

Many people are surprised to discover just how big an impact diet and nutrition can have on the health of their eyes, and the long-term strength of their vision. But the connection between what you eat and how well you can see has been well-documented over the years, and is clearly seen in the following ways:

  • Nutrients: Maintaining a healthy diet is key to guarding against visual impairments related to aging. For instance, studies have shown that nutrients like zinc, lutein, omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins C and E can help you avoid vision problems such as cataracts and macular degeneration. If you’re unsure of whether or not your diet includes enough nutrients to promote eye health, you may want to consider taking eye vitamins, which are specifically targeted toward contributing to ocular health.
  • Foods: Certain types of food are especially beneficial for the health of your eyes, including oily fish (like tuna and salmon), oranges and other citrus fruits, leafy vegetables like kale and spinach, and non-meat protein sources like nuts, beans and eggs.
  • Prevent diabetes: Did you know that diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in adults? What this means is that eating a well-balanced diet is not only good for your body, but is also directly beneficial to your vision: by eating well and maintaining a healthy weight, you’re less likely to get obesity-related diseases such as type 2 diabetes.
  • Antioxidants: Antioxidants can potentially reduce the risk of cataracts, according to a number of different studies. By incorporating plentiful amounts of dark green vegetables and fruits into your diet, you’re sure to receive good doses of antioxidants from your meals.

When it comes to long-term eye protection, maintaining a healthy diet can play a key role in sustaining your vision well into your golden years.

 

6 Crucial Ways That You Can Protect Your Eyes

  1. 1.     Using the Computer

Now that a great many people spend most (if not all) of their workdays sitting at a computer, making sure you give your eyes regular breaks from looking at the screen has never been more important.

Staring at a computer screen for an excessive amount of time can produce a variety of unpleasant results – everything from blurry vision and eyestrain to headaches and dry eyes. Giving your eyes regular “look-away” breaks is very important, as is maintaining an upright seated position in front of the computer, keeping your feet flat on the floor.

Moreover, you should make sure that your glasses or contact lens prescription is up-to-date, so you don’t need to wonder whether your glasses or contacts are doing more harm than good for your vision. 

  1. 2.     Sleep

Sleep is crucial to eye health, as getting a sound 8 hours of shut-eye at night ensures that your eyes will be fully rested and ready to take on the following day. Sleep is a time of continuous lubrication for our eyes, helping clear out irritants that may have accumulated over the course of the day, such as allergens or dust.

  1. 3.     Stick to Your Prescription (Or Get a New One)

It’s important that you wear your prescribed contacts or eyeglasses: otherwise, you open yourself up to discomfort caused by headaches, eyestrain, and possibly even injury. Your prescribed contacts or eyeglasses were made specifically for your eyes and your visual needs. If you’re experiencing a problem with your prescription lenses, reach out to your eye doctor to determine how the issue can be resolved - perhaps all that’s needed is a switch from contacts to glasses, or vice versa.

  1. 4.     Protect your eyes from UV Rays

Protect your eyes when you’re out in the sun by wearing sunglasses or contact lenses treated for UV absorption. An excessive amount of UV exposure makes you more likely to get cataracts or macular degeneration.

  1. 5.     Wear The Right Eyewear

Think ahead and bring protective eyewear to situations or areas that pose a risk to your eye safety or your vision. Protective goggles are frequently worn in a number of different sports, and safe eyewear is absolutely necessary whenever you’re handling hazardous materials. 

  1. 6.     Quit Smoking

Macular degeneration, cataracts and optic nerve damage are extremely serious conditions that can wreak havoc on your vision. By smoking, you become more likely to get one of these diseases.

 

Top Eye Care Priority for Seniors Over 60: Receive Regular Eye Examinations

According to the World Health Organization, over 285 million people are visually impaired around the world – and what’s more shocking is that 80% of these cases could have been avoided or cured.

This is precisely why it’s so critical to receive regular eye exams, so that eye conditions can be recognized and treated before a person’s vision has been compromised, or lost entirely. In general, individuals ought to receive a comprehensive eye exam at least every two years, but for everyone over age 60, The American Optometric Association recommends annual eye examinations.

First and foremost, these exams aim to determine an individual’s risk for major eye diseases. This is extremely important even if your vision seems fine, because some progressive eye diseases don’t show any signs until your vision has already been damaged, as is the case with glaucoma. Diabetic retinopathy is another condition that has no early warning signs or symptoms. 

Eye diseases like these become much more of a concern for seniors during their 60s. In fact, by the age of 65, approximately one person in three has some form of vision-reducing eye disease.

Thus, some of the most vital tests that seniors should take on a regular basis include:

  • Visual field
  • Refraction
  • Dilated retinal test
  • Eye pressures

Each test gives your eye doctor key information about how your vision functions, and what issues are affecting the health of your eyes.

When you need to improve the sharpness or clarity of your vision, an optometrist can help you determine what course of action will be most effective, whether it involves eye exercises or a new prescription for eyeglasses or contact lenses. An ophthalmologist provides comprehensive eye care services, and is able to play a role in everything from exams and diagnoses to disease treatments and surgeries.

Maintain Your Vision As You Age By Staying Proactive About Eye Care

Many seniors are unaware of just how crucial it is to receive regular eye examinations. Age-related eye diseases can develop for quite some time before the individual starts to notice any vision issues, and that amount of time could ultimately mean the difference between a manageable eye problem and total blindness.

It’s vital that individuals in their 60s remain vigilant of their eye care needs and receive regular examinations, as working with an optometrist and ophthalmologist boosts their chances of maintaining their eyesight as they age.