Many of us grew up hearing, “You should eat your carrots if you want better eyesight.” Although carrots do support better eye health, there is scientific proof that eating a healthy diet of leafy greens and exercise can lower your risk of age-related eye disease. Maybe Popeye’s strength was in his eyes!
August is National Eye Exam month and in observance, learn how to keep your vision clear and healthy. As we age, getting a baseline eye exam can detect early signs of disease or damage to your eyes. Ophthalmologists, medical doctors who specialize in eye and vision care, recommend periodic eye exams every two to four years from the ages of 40 to 65, and every one to two years after the age of 65. Getting a simple eye checkup and following an eye doctor’s instructions can lower risks of more severe and future damage, allowing you to continue enjoying healthy vision.
One of the most common age-related eye diseases is age-related macular degeneration or AMD. AMD is
an eye disease that can blur your central vision as
AMD happens very slowly in some people and faster in others. If you have early AMD, you may not notice vision loss for a long time. That is why it is so important to get regular eye exams to find out if you have AMD.
Risk factors include age 55 and older, a family history of AMD, being white/Caucasian and smoking. National Eye Institute research shows that you may be able to lower your risk of AMD (or slow vision loss from AMD) by making these healthy choices:
- Quit smoking — or do not start
- Get regular physical activity
- Maintain healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels
- Eat healthy foods, including leafy greens and fish
Eye doctors can treat AMD by using medicines and light or laser therapy. If you live with AMD or other eye disease causing low vision, there is good news! Low vision devices and vision rehab services are available. Vision rehab can help you learn the skills you need to stay independent and active with low vision. You may also be able to make slight changes, in addition to the healthy choices listed above, like:
- Use brighter lights at home or work
- Wear anti-glare sunglasses
- Use a magnifying lens for reading and up-close activities
Remember, be like Popeye and eat your spinach, stay active and schedule an eye exam to support your eye health and stay independent!