Eyecare Tips for over 40s
Eye Care After 40: Must-Follow Tips
It may feel strange at first when you find yourself peering hard at the morning paper or increasing the font on the laptop to be able to read better. Pause a while: Are you above 40? If so, chances are your eyes are beginning to show the first effects of ageing. Do not panic. It is a natural part of the ageing process and unlikely to have serious consequences. However, it is inconvenient and hampers functioning to an extent. Read on to understand what happens to your vision after 40 and how you can take care of your eyes – your window to the world.
Eye-Care Must-Dos After 40
Statistics say that one in six adults aged 45 or more are prone to eye problems. Here are the vital must-dos to take care of your eyes.
1. Opt for Annual Eye-exams
Typically, the inbuilt lenses in the eyes lose flexibility as one gets older, making it increasingly difficult for the eyes to adjust to nearby objects. This condition is called Presbyopia. While this is a natural part of ageing and should not cause undue worry, it is also wise to ease the situation and prevent severe damage. Presbyopia is most commonly noticeable in the mid-40s but could get worse with age.
Experts recommend annual eye exams after you turn 40 – even if you may not have had eye problems earlier – to determine the condition’s extent and provide supportive solutions.
It is best for those with high blood pressure, diabetes, and a family history of eye disease to go for bi-yearly checks to rule out serious health complications.
During the exam, your optometrist not only determines the onset of Presbyopia but is also able to track health conditions such as autoimmune and sexually transmitted diseases and many forms of cancer. Therefore, we can safely assume that the eyes are not just a window to the world but also a window to our bodies.
Here is a way you could test for Presbyopia at home: Bring a newspaper up close to your eyes and then take it back gradually. If you find it challenging to decipher the print as you take the paper away from the eyes, it is a signal to visit the eye doctor right away.
The specialist is likely to prescribe glasses with progressive lenses. These are multifocal line-free lenses that adjust your near and far-away vision to clarity. An optometrist might also suggest bifocal lenses, but these provide a relatively limited vision range.
Presbyopia may also lead to light and glare sensitivity – a natural part of the ageing process. Specialists are likely to recommend photochromatic lenses that darken in sunlight to ease the glare.
2. Cut Down on Screen Time
Your eyes have probably been exposed to damaging amounts of high-energy blue light over the years from a multitude of digital devices. Unfortunately, in the modern world, we cannot do away with screen exposure completely. So do the next best thing – take these basic precautions.
- Ensure your computer screen is 20-24 inches away from your eyes
- Position the screen slightly below eye level
- Reduce glare by adjusting the brightness
- Blink frequently – this relieves the eyes from Digital Eye Fatigue and helps cut down on blue light absorption
- Take a break every 20 minutes when working on a digital screen to rest the eyes
3. Eat More Greens
Eating more leafy vegetables is not just a childhood truism. Check this:
Nutrients like Lutein and Zeaxanthin, present in the macula of the eyes, are believed to help block harmful blue light from reaching the retina’s underlying structures, preventing age-related macular degeneration (AMD). AMD initially manifests in blurry vision, but over time, may lead to loss of sight. The problem here is that these protective nutrients are not naturally produced by our bodies but are abundant in green leafy vegetables.
Hence, your diet as an adult past 40 must have those greens that you insist your child eat up! You may also have quality supplements but only at the recommendation of your eye doctor.
Other factors to keep in mind include maintaining a diet rich in antioxidants and vitamins A and C that help preserve eye health. Foods beneficial to the eyes also include fatty fish such as salmon containing Omega-3 fatty acids that boost the macula’s health – the central node of eye health.
Stay away from a high saturated fat diet and alcohol – these may create free-radical reactions that can harm the macula and constrict blood flow in the eye arteries.
4. Exercise Daily
Exercise improves blood circulation, increases oxygen levels in the eyes, helps remove toxins, and maintains overall eye health. So go on, make the moves. Get in at least 40 minutes of brisk exercise daily. It not only helps to optimize weight but is also great for your eyes.
5. Get A Good Night’s Sleep
Sleep is critical for not only your eyes but also for the mind and body to function optimally. Try to get at least seven hours of undisturbed sleep. To get quality sleep, avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed, and get off digital screens at least a couple of hours before hitting the bed. Lack of shut-eye translates to tired eyes that may tend to get watery. A good night’s rest helps you perform better in your daily tasks as well.
6. Wear Sunglasses
Sunlight can be harsh on our eyes and may lead to blinding spots. As you age, it becomes imperative to opt for good sunglasses with suitable filters to block harmful ultraviolet rays.
7. Stop Smoking
Smoking is harmful to your body on a lot of counts, and that includes your eyes. It puts high levels of oxidative stress on your eyes which has been identified as a factor in triggering age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
So go on, take steps to change your lifestyle to protect your eyes. And schedule the appointment with the eye specialist today!