Older woman smiling after cataract surgery

This month is Healthy Aging Month. What does aging have to do with your eye health? As it turns out, a lot!

One in six Americans over 65 suffer visual impairment beyond refractive errors. This is due to age-related eye conditions.

But September isn’t a time just to be aware of age-related eye conditions. It’s also a time to focus on healthy practices and manage problems with your ocular health.

What Aging Means for Your Eyes

There are a variety of age-related conditions that affect your vision as you grow older. These include:

  • Cataracts
  • Glaucoma
  • Diabetic Retinopathy
  • Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Most of these conditions affect people of retirement age. They can also develop when you’re younger.

Cataracts especially tend to develop in middle age. When you hit the age of 40, you’re already at a higher risk of developing cataracts.

How Does Your Health Affect Your Eyes As You Age?

While aging puts you at risk for several eye-related conditions, it often isn’t the only factor. Conditions like cataracts are often associated with a variety of other factors, including:

  • Smoking
  • Poor diet
  • Uncontrolled diabetes
  • Excessive alcohol consumption

Uncontrolled diabetes, in particular, can put you at risk for several conditions. This is especially true with diabetic retinopathy.

Conditions like glaucoma are more common in individuals with diabetes and hypertension.

How to Maintain Healthy Vision

The good and bad news about healthy vision is that it’s associated with your health. Maintaining your health can be tough, especially as we get older.

But this also means that you can have a healthy vision as long as you work on your health. Here are the best ways to stay healthy as you get older:

  • Exercise
  • Get good nutrition: take vitamins and other supplements if it’s hard to get all nutrients from food alone
  • Manage conditions like diabetes
  • Avoid smoking and drinking to excess
  • Protect yourself from the sun by using sunscreen to protect your skin
  • Wear polarized sunglasses to protect your eyes!

Above All, Remember to Have Regular Eye Exams!

Even if you work hard to stay healthy, you may still be at risk for certain conditions as you get older. But there’s no need to fret over things you can’t control.

You can stay healthy as long as you get any issues with your health identified and treated as early as possible. This is especially true for your ocular health.

Many eye conditions don’t show any symptoms until it’s too late to prevent visual loss.

How do you avoid eye conditions going unnoticed? Regular eye exams!

So many people, old and young, ignore their eye health until something is visibly wrong. But as you get older, having regular eye exams is vital to keeping your vision intact.

Eye exams are your best line of defense against conditions that affect the retina or optic nerve. These include macular degeneration, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy.

The best way to avoid permanent damage is to have these conditions diagnosed early. If you do have one of these conditions, early diagnosis can lead to early treatment.

Start having regular eye exams at least once every two years once you turn 40. Once you turn 50, consider having exams yearly.

This is the best way to have a healthy vision outside of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. If you commit to your wellness and regular eye exams, you’re far more likely to have strong vision well into old age!

Can’t remember when your last eye exam was? Schedule an appointment at Eyecare Medical Group in Portland, ME today!

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