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Eye Care as You Age

May 04, 2015 04:03AM ● Published by Family Features

(Family Features) Which health screenings and exams are top priorities for you? If you’re like most adults, monitoring your weight, cholesterol, and blood pressure is probably part of your health care routine. But what about vision care?

When adults reach their 40s, they often start to notice small changes in their vision, which can impact their daily lives and job performance. Whether having difficulty reading a book or working on a computer screen, such changes can be frustrating, but they can often be addressed by an eye care professional.

A comprehensive dilated eye exam is the best way to detect diseases and conditions that can cause vision loss and blindness. That’s because many have no symptoms in their early stages.

According to the National Eye Institute, all adults aged 60 and older should have a comprehensive dilated eye exam, with the exception of African Americans, who are advised to get the exams starting at age 40 due to a higher risk of developing glaucoma at an earlier age. Even if you haven’t experienced any issues with your sight, a dilated exam can detect serious eye diseases and conditions such as age-related macular degeneration, cataract, diabetic eye disease, and glaucoma.

During a dilated eye exam, your eye care professional places drops in your eyes to dilate, or widen, the pupil. This lets more light enter the eye, similar to the way an open door lets more light into a dark room and allows your eye care professional to get a good look at the back of your eyes to examine them for any signs of damage or disease.

Regular eye exams go a long way in helping you see well for a lifetime. But there is more you can do. Experts at the National Eye Institute recommend following these additional steps to protect your vision.

1. Live a healthy lifestyle. Living an overall healthy life is good for your eyes. This includes:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese increases your risk of developing diabetes and other systemic conditions, which can lead to vision loss from diabetic eye disease or glaucoma.
  • Eating healthy foods. You’ve heard carrots are good for your eyes, but eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, particularly dark leafy greens such as spinach, kale, or collard greens is important for keeping your eyes healthy, too. Research has also shown there are eye health benefits from eating fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, tuna, and halibut.
  • Not smoking. Smoking is as bad for your eyes as it is for the rest of your body. Research has linked smoking to an increased risk of developing age-related macular degeneration, cataract and optic nerve damage, all of which can lead to blindness.

2. Know your family history. Talk to your family members about their eye health history. It’s important to know if anyone has been diagnosed with an eye disease or condition since many are hereditary. This will help to determine if you are at higher risk for developing an eye disease or condition.

3. Use protective eyewear. Protect your eyes when playing sports, working with hazardous materials, or doing chores like mowing the lawn. Protective eyewear includes safety glasses and goggles, safety shields and eye guards specially designed to provide the correct protection for a certain activity. Most protective eyewear lenses are made of polycarbonate, which is 10 times stronger than other plastics. Many eye care providers sell protective eyewear, as do some sporting goods stores.

4. Wear sunglasses. Sunglasses are a great fashion accessory, but their most important job is to protect your eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. When purchasing sunglasses, look for ones that block out 99 to 100 percent of both UV-A and UV-B radiation. Exposure to excess sunlight can increase your risk of cataract and age-related macular degeneration, tissue growth on the white part of eye that can cause discomfort and blurred vision.

Common Eye Diseases and Conditions
Just as the rest of your body ages, so do the eyes. The following are common diseases and conditions associated with aging that can be detected with proper monitoring from an eye care professional:

  • Cataract. People who experience this clouding of the lens in the eye often report increased glare and fading of colors.
  • Diabetic eye disease. A complication of diabetes and a leading cause of blindness, its most common form is diabetic retinopathy, which happens when the disease damages small blood vessels inside the retina.
  • Dry eye. Dry eye can feel like stinging or burning, and can lead to blurred vision or even vision loss if left untreated.
  • Glaucoma. Glaucoma is a group of diseases that can damage the eye’s optic nerve and result in vision loss and blindness. Open-angle glaucoma is the most common form of the disease.
  • Age-related Macular Degeneration. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a disease that blurs the sharp, central vision you need for “straight-ahead” activities such as reading, sewing, and driving. AMD affects the macula, the part of the eye that allows you to see fine detail.

You can find more information on these preventive measures and dozens of other vision-related topics at www.nei.nih.gov.

Photos courtesy of Getty Images

Sponsored by NEI

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    Join us on historic Bourbon Street in Jambalaya at Pheasant Run Resort every Friday for live ente...


  • Women's Fellowship Breakfast

    10/07/2017
    09:00AM — 11:00AM

    St. John Lutheran Church at 7214 South Cass Avenue in Darien, IL will host a Women’s Fellowship B...


  • Sculpture on the Prairie

    10/07/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    Fine Line Creative Arts Center is proud to annouce it's first Sculpture on the Prarie exhibit. E...


  • Million Dollar Quartet

    10/07/2017
    01:30PM

    Paramount Theatre's rollicking 2017-18 Broadway Series opener is Million Dollar Quartet, the wild...


  • Dr. Evil and the Basket of Kittens

    10/07/2017
    03:00PM — 05:00PM

    This darkly funny farce pits the eternal battle of pure evil against innocent fuzzy goodness. Dr....


  • Dr. Evil and the Basket of Kittens

    10/07/2017
    07:00PM — 09:00PM

    This darkly funny farce pits the eternal battle of pure evil against innocent fuzzy goodness. Dr....


  • DANIEL NAHMOD IN CONCERT

    10/07/2017
    07:00PM — 10:00PM

    Saturday, October 7th, 7pm. Unity of Fox Valley presents award-winning singer/songwriter and prod...


  • First Folio Theatre (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83.) is thrilled to present the Worl...


  • First Folio Theatre (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83.) is thrilled to present the Worl...


  • Comedy at Zanies

    10/07/2017
    07:30PM

    See nationally known comics along with some of the country’s hottest new talents for a night full...


  • I Love A Piano

    10/07/2017
    07:30PM — 09:30PM

    ESO favorites Rich Ridenour, piano and Brandon Ridenour, trumpet, will bring the house down with ...


  • Live Music

    10/07/2017
    09:00PM — 11:55PM

    Join us on historic Bourbon Street in Jambalaya at Pheasant Run Resort for live bands every Satur...


  • Comedy at Zanies

    10/07/2017
    09:45PM

    See nationally known comics along with some of the country’s hottest new talents for a night full...


  • Bourbon Street Brunch

    10/08/2017
    09:00AM — 01:00PM

    Join us on historic Boubon Street every Sunday for a unique brunch buffet! Enjoy all your favorit...


  • Fabyan Villa Museum & Japanese Garden open

    10/08/2017
    01:00PM — 04:30PM

    The Fabyan Villa Museum and Japanese Garden will return to a public hours schedule starting on Su...


  • Million Dollar Quartet

    10/08/2017
    01:30PM

    Paramount Theatre's rollicking 2017-18 Broadway Series opener is Million Dollar Quartet, the wild...


  • I Love A Piano

    10/08/2017
    02:30PM — 04:30PM

    ESO favorites Rich Ridenour, piano and Brandon Ridenour, trumpet, will bring the house down with ...


  • Dr. Evil and the Basket of Kittens

    10/08/2017
    03:00PM — 05:00PM

    This darkly funny farce pits the eternal battle of pure evil against innocent fuzzy goodness. Dr....


  • First Folio Theatre (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83.) is thrilled to present the Worl...


  • First Folio Theatre (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83.) is thrilled to present the Worl...


  • Sculpture on the Prairie

    10/09/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    Fine Line Creative Arts Center is proud to annouce it's first Sculpture on the Prarie exhibit. E...


  • Help an adult learn English

    10/09/2017
    06:30PM — 09:00PM

    Literacy Volunteers Fox Valley is hosting a tutor training workshop at the St. Charles Public Lib...


  • First Folio Theatre (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83.) is thrilled to present the Worl...


  • First Folio Theatre (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83.) is thrilled to present the Worl...


  • Tri-Cities Exchange Club Breakfast

    10/10/2017
    07:00AM — 08:00AM

    Every Tuesday morning, 7-8am, men and women meet for breakfast at Colonial Cafe on Randall Road, ...


  • Sculpture on the Prairie

    10/10/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    Fine Line Creative Arts Center is proud to annouce it's first Sculpture on the Prarie exhibit. E...


  • Family Talk

    10/10/2017
    07:00PM — 09:30PM

    Finding an ancestor's town of origin can be exciting. Once this piece of information is found, on...


  • First Folio Theatre (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83.) is thrilled to present the Worl...


  • First Folio Theatre (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83.) is thrilled to present the Worl...


  • Wednesday Walking Club

    10/11/2017
    08:00AM — 09:00AM

    Wednesdays, April 5–October 25, 8–9 AM Free drop-in program for all ages Get fit the old-fashio...


  • Wednesday Walking Club

    10/11/2017
    08:00AM — 09:00AM

    Wednesdays, April 5–October 25, 8–9 AM Free drop-in program for all ages Get fit the old-fashio...


  • Sculpture on the Prairie

    10/11/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    Fine Line Creative Arts Center is proud to annouce it's first Sculpture on the Prarie exhibit. E...


  • Fabyan Villa Museum & Japanese Garden open

    10/11/2017
    01:00PM — 04:30PM

    The Fabyan Villa Museum and Japanese Garden will return to a public hours schedule starting on Su...


  • Million Dollar Quartet

    10/11/2017
    01:30PM

    Paramount Theatre's rollicking 2017-18 Broadway Series opener is Million Dollar Quartet, the wild...


  • The Fine Line Lecture Series

    10/11/2017
    07:00PM — 08:00PM

    Spend the evening listening to local artist lecture about their about their work. Their inspirati...


  • First Folio Theatre (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83.) is thrilled to present the Worl...


  • First Folio Theatre (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83.) is thrilled to present the Worl...


  • Nature Tykes (for 3 year olds)

    10/12/2017
    09:30AM — 10:30AM

    In this program, for 3-year olds and their parents, grandparents or guardians, we’ll explore the ...


  • Sculpture on the Prairie

    10/12/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    Fine Line Creative Arts Center is proud to annouce it's first Sculpture on the Prarie exhibit. E...


  • Little Naturalists

    10/12/2017
    01:00PM — 02:00PM

    In this hour-long program for 4-5-year olds, children will discover the wonders of nature through...


  • Million Dollar Quartet

    10/12/2017
    01:30PM

    Paramount Theatre's rollicking 2017-18 Broadway Series opener is Million Dollar Quartet, the wild...


  • NUHS Student for a Day (AOM/BS)

    10/12/2017
    03:00PM — 07:00PM

    The Student for a Day program provides an opportunity to understand student life at National Univ...


  • First Folio Theatre (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83.) is thrilled to present the Worl...


  • First Folio Theatre (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83.) is thrilled to present the Worl...


  • Comedy at Zanies

    10/12/2017
    08:00PM

    See nationally known comics along with some of the country’s hottest new talents for a night full...


  • Moms Connect

    10/13/2017
    09:00AM — 10:15AM

    St. John Lutheran Church at 7214 South Cass Avenue in Darien, IL will sponsor a new Bible-based s...


  • Sculpture on the Prairie

    10/13/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    Fine Line Creative Arts Center is proud to annouce it's first Sculpture on the Prarie exhibit. E...


  • NUHS Student for a Day (DC/ND)

    10/13/2017
    10:00AM — 02:00PM

    The Student for a Day program provides an opportunity to understand student life at National Univ...


  • Story Time at Creek Bend Nature Center

    10/13/2017
    10:30AM — 11:00AM

    Treat your child to Story Times at Creek Bend Nature Center. This popular program series is for c...


  • Million Dollar Quartet

    10/13/2017
    01:30PM

    Paramount Theatre's rollicking 2017-18 Broadway Series opener is Million Dollar Quartet, the wild...


  • First Folio Theatre (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83.) is thrilled to present the Worl...


  • First Folio Theatre (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83.) is thrilled to present the Worl...


  • Comedy at Zanies

    10/13/2017
    08:00PM

    See nationally known comics along with some of the country’s hottest new talents for a night full...


  • Live Entertainment: DJ

    10/13/2017
    09:00PM — 11:55PM

    Join us on historic Bourbon Street in Jambalaya at Pheasant Run Resort every Friday for live ente...


  • The Fall Scramble

    10/14/2017
    08:30AM

    This annual event presents you with 9 holes set up as easy as we can make it and 9 holes as diffi...


  • Sculpture on the Prairie

    10/14/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    Fine Line Creative Arts Center is proud to annouce it's first Sculpture on the Prarie exhibit. E...


  • Food Truck Festival

    10/14/2017
    11:00AM — 02:00PM

    St. John Lutheran Early Learning Center at 7214 South Cass Avenue in Darien, IL will host a Food ...


  • Million Dollar Quartet

    10/14/2017
    01:30PM

    Paramount Theatre's rollicking 2017-18 Broadway Series opener is Million Dollar Quartet, the wild...


  • First Folio Theatre (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83.) is thrilled to present the Worl...


  • First Folio Theatre (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83.) is thrilled to present the Worl...


  • Comedy at Zanies

    10/14/2017
    07:30PM

    See nationally known comics along with some of the country’s hottest new talents for a night full...


  • Live Music

    10/14/2017
    09:00PM — 11:55PM

    Join us on historic Bourbon Street in Jambalaya at Pheasant Run Resort for live bands every Satur...


  • Comedy at Zanies

    10/14/2017
    09:45PM

    See nationally known comics along with some of the country’s hottest new talents for a night full...


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