The number of aging Americans with significant age-related vision loss is expected to double by 2030, according to the American Foundation for the Blind.
Indeed, multiple studies indicate that the vast majority of people who are legally blind (having a visual acuity of 20/200 or less, or a visual filed that is limited to 20 degrees or less) are elderly individuals suffering from the most-common age-related eye diseases including: glaucoma, cataracts, age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy.
Even the eyes of younger baby boomers aren’t immune from the ravages of aging. People between the ages of 45 and 64 years old were twice as likely to experience vision loss, when compared to younger populations, according to the 2011 National Health Interview Survey.
The good news is that there are ways to safeguard your eyes against the issues of aging and prevent the progression of certain vision-robbing ailments.
Here are 6 simple vision protection tips from the experts:
Stick to an exercise regimen: Engaging in a regular workout program provides countless health benefits—from cardiovascular to cognitive. Physical activity can also help keep your eyes healthy. By breaking a sweat three or more times each week, adults middle-aged and older could experience up to a 70 percent reduction in risk for developing age-related macular degeneration, according to a 2006 University of Wisconsin study.
Up your antioxidants: Food plays an important role in preventing everything from cataracts to age-related macular degeneration. According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), vitamins C and E, lutein, zeaxanthin, zinc and essential fatty acids are all key nutrients for maintaining good eyesight as you age. Vitamins C and E—found in abundance in green, leafy vegetables (spinach, kale), berries, citrus fruits, nuts and sweet potatoes—help guard against damage from free radicals and can lower your chances of developing cataracts. The lutein and zeaxanthin in green, leafy vegetables and eggs may reduce the risk of multiple age-related eye diseases. Fatty acids (especially the omega-3s in walnuts, salmon and soybeans) and zinc (oysters, dark chocolate and peanuts) are important for maintaining the structural health and integrity of the tissues in your eyes.
Rock some shades: The damaging effects of ultraviolet (UV) radiation aren’t limited to your skin. If left unprotected, UVA and UVB rays can harm your eyes and contribute to the formation of cataracts. When you’re out in the sun (even in the wintertime), it’s important to wear sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat for full protection from harmful radiation. Opt for lenses that offer 100 percent UV protection and be aware that this is not a feature offered by all types of sunglasses. Polarized, mirror-coated, blue-blocking and photochromatic lenses have different features that can make it easier to see in bright sunlight, but they don’t all automatically block UV rays.
Continue reading to discover 3 more vision protection tips…
6 Surprisingly Simple Ways to Safeguard Your Vision As You Age originally appeared on AgingCare.com.