The American Academy of Ophthalmology and The Wyoming Ophthalmological Society are reminding adults to start the fight against age-related vision loss early – long before they reach the golden years.
An estimated 43 million Americans will face vision loss or blindness from age-related eye diseases by 2020. During September, the National Eye Institute and the Academy are recognizing Healthy Aging Month by bringing eye-healthy tips to the public. Ophthalmologists, the medical doctors who treat eye diseases and conditions, recommend that adults following these sight-saving habits:
It’s all about the baseline
Get a baseline comprehensive eye exam, ideally when you turn 40. This is when age-related eye changes often begin to occur. During this medical eye exam, your ophthalmologist will check more than how well you see. He or she will also check for signs of common age-related eye diseases such as glaucoma and macular degeneration. After the baseline exam, adults should have comprehensive exams:
o Every two to four years until age 54
o Every one to three years until age 64
o By age 65, every one to two years, or as recommended by your ophthalmologist.
Keep an Eye on Family History
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD), glaucoma, cataracts and other eye diseases can be inherited. If you have a close relative with AMD, you have a 50 percent chance of developing the condition. A family history of glaucoma increases your chances by four to nine times.
No more Butts
Quitting smoking is one of the best investments you can make in your eye health. Smoking increases your risk for developing cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.
Eat for Your Eyes
Studies have shown that some foods are good for eye health as well as general health. These foods include citrus fruits, vegetable oils, dark green leafy greens and cold water fish such as salmon and tuna.
Know (and Control) Your Numbers
High blood pressure, cholesterol and blood glucose (sugar) levels all increase the risk of vision loss from an eye disease
To learn more about how to care for aging eyes, visit the Academy’s public information website at www.eyesmart.org. Seniors concerned about the cost of caring for their eyes may be eligible for a comprehensive eye exam and up to one year of treatment at no out-of-pocket cost through EyeCare America (www.eyecareamerica.org), a public service program of the Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
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