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Losing Eyesight

According to World Health Organization, the majority of people who suffer from vision impairment and blindness are over the age of 50. However, people of all ages are at risk of developing vision loss.

Older people are at increased risk for vision loss due to disease and injury, such as diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. It can also be caused by the following:

  • Cataracts
  • Glaucoma
  • Age-related macular degeneration
  • Uncorrected refractive errors
  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Corneal opacity
  • Trachoma

Although your elderly loved one may be able to see you in person, it’s crucial to understand that vision changes affect the ability of your loved one to do things around the house or with friends and family. They may find it hard to read signs at the grocery store or recognize family members.

If you’re concerned about your loved one’s vision loss, talk with your doctor or eye doctor about options for treatment. Some people may be able to see better with glasses or contact lenses after cataract surgery. If the cause of vision loss is unclear, your doctor may refer you to an ophthalmologist.

  • Have a comprehensive dilated eye exam
    Have regular checkups with your ophthalmologist (eye doctor). Your ophthalmologist can check for early signs of macular degeneration and treat any vision problems that may occur with no more than minor surgery.
  • Maintain your blood sugar levels.
    Blood sugar levels are an important factor in preventing vision loss. Diabetics are at risk of developing macular degeneration, which is the leading cause of blindness in those over age 50. It can also lead to other vision problems such as cataracts and glaucoma.
  • Be aware of the eye health history of your family
    You should have an eye exam at least every year if you are over the age of 40 or if you have a family history of eye disease or diabetes.
  • Protect your vision by eating right
    A diet high in fruits and vegetables, low in saturated fat, trans fats, and cholesterol, and rich in vitamins C, A, and E can help reduce your risk of macular degeneration
  • Stay in a healthy weight range
    Maintaining a healthy weight can help prevent vision loss because it helps maintain proper blood pressure levels in your body, which allows more oxygen and nutrients to reach your eyes.
  • Wear protective eyewear
    This is especially important if you work in a high-risk industry or are exposed to chemicals regularly. Protective eyewear can also be a good idea if you spend long hours reading or watching television.
  • Do not smoke or do not start smoking
    Smoking causes damage to blood vessels, which can weaken your eyes. Smokers are more likely to develop cataracts and glaucoma than non-smokers. Smoking is also a risk factor for developing macular degeneration, a condition that causes blurry vision and can eventually lead to blindness. Other conditions that may be caused by smoking include retinal detachment, squinting, and dry eye.
  • Wear sunglasses and stay cool
    Sunglasses protect the eyes from UV light and other bright light sources, including the sun. They also provide added protection from dirt, dust, and wind.
  • Rest your eyes
    Avoid staring at a computer screen for long periods. The same goes for reading on your phone or tablet. Take short breaks every hour if you work in an office setting or if you spend time on the phone or watching TV. This will help keep your eyes from getting dry and fatigued.
  • Be sure to clean your hands and your contact lenses properly
    Maintain a regular handwashing routine. Don’t take off your contacts or glasses while they’re still wet after washing them because they can make it easier for harmful germs to get into your eyes. Only wear contact lenses if they’re prescribed by an eye doctor and your eyes are healthy enough to tolerate them.
  • Keep your eyes safe at work
    Wear protective goggles when working around sandblasting or grinding equipment that produces dust that can damage your eyes or cause you to sneeze on yourself.

It’s time to strengthen your vision and build it up to withstand the aging, deteriorating process that we all tend to experience. By following some of these simple tips, vision loss can be prevented and preserved. There is no magic cure or set of exercises that will strengthen your vision overnight. Vision depends on consistency, hard work, and dedication; once you find a routine that works for you and stick with it, the benefits will come in the long term. There’s only one certain thing: if you do not follow a regimented plan of prevention, then you are setting yourself up for a much harder situation later on.

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