World Health Day: Aging can affect vision; 4 precautions you can take to protect your eyesight – Times of India

The eyes are your “window” to the world. Indeed! But in this age of digitisation, your eyes hardly get the time off from staring at screens for long hours. Add to that, the age factor and the susceptibility to diseases increase manifold for your eyes. There are a few eye problems like red eyes, eye strain, blurred vision, etc. that can trouble you at some point or the other. However, as you age, you need to be even more careful about your vision health. Certain issues like ocular allergies, cloudy vision, eye dryness and glaucoma can give you a tough time as you cross your 40s.
These are various eye issues that are more common as people age such as presbyopia which refers to the loss of ability to see objects in the close distance or small print.

Dry eyes is another common condition that can be uncomfortable, causing burning, itching or even some loss of vision. As per The Ocular Surface, the incidence of dry eye disease in India is about 1.9 million. The prevalence of dry eye disease will be about 40 per cent of the urban population by 2030. However, the good part is that by taking certain precautions, you can lessen the chances of your vision getting affected as you age. Here are 4 precautions to keep your vision sharp even in old age:

1. Regular Eye Tests
While you may feel that there is nothing wrong with your vision, you can only be sure when you get your eyes examined by a specialist. Eye tests can not only determine whether you need glasses or not but can also reveal eye conditions that can be effectively treated when detected early. There is an eye exam known as a comprehensive dilated eye exam that is always recommended if you are at an increased risk of some eye diseases or if you’re above the age of 60.

2. Manage Screen Time

Increased screen time over the past 2 years due to the pandemic has given rise to numerous eye problems, especially dry eyes. A lot of older people are getting the number for their spectacles revised as their vision got disturbed due to excessive cell phone usage. Considering these things, it is crucial that you manage your screen time to avoid overstraining your eyes. The high-energy blue light emitted from your devices is quite harmful to the eyes. That’s why you should always:

• Keep the screen at least 20-24 inches away from your eyes
• Adjust brightness to reduce glare
• Blink frequently
• Take a break away for at least 10-15 minutes every hour

3. Eat Healthy

To promote good eye health, you should always consume a diet that is full of green veggies and fruits. Dark leafy greens, especially kale, collard greens and spinach — contain lutein and zeaxanthin, which are antioxidants and help to prevent the formation of cataracts. Evidence suggests that grapes may support healthy eyes. Other research indicates that grapes provide higher levels of antioxidant protection for the eyes than lutein alone and may slow down the progress or help to prevent AMD. Also, fatty fish like salmon have essential omega-3 fatty acids, vital for the health of the macula, responsible for central vision.

4. Get Enough Sleep

If you don’t get adequate sleep, some of the symptoms you’ll likely experience are dry eye syndrome and eye spasms. When you get good sleep, your body gets ample time to restore and renew your eyes, leading to clearer, better eyesight, improved eye lubrication, as well as healthier tissues and nerves in and around the eyes. When you get proper sleep, you’ll not experience eye-related headaches, and you’ll likely observe that your vision is getting clearer both day and night.

Final Words

As you age, vision issues like trouble reading up-close, requiring more light to see things or seeing things far away may crop up. Not to mention the big ones like glaucoma and cataract, which can show up suddenly. However, when you maintain a good lifestyle and take timely care of your eyes, the probability of major diseases affecting your eyes reduces considerably.

Written by Dr. Roma Johri, Glaucoma Consultant at Sri Shankara Nethralaya, Hyderabad

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