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Maintaining Healthy Eyes as You Grow Older

The natural ageing process is something none of us can escape, and with it comes many gradual changes to our bodies. Hardly limited to those stubborn grey hairs and wrinkles, ageing also impacts our eyes, with the majority of people needing some form of vision correction by the time they turn or have reached the age of 50.

While solutions such as laser eye surgery and lens replacement surgery are now readily available to combat many of the age-related changes to your eyesight, it’s important to remain mindful of the simple steps you can take in your day-to-day life to help keep your eyes in good shape.

1. Attend regular eye tests

Regular eye tests are not only necessary to ensure that your prescription is up to date, they can also help to determine your eye health and detect signs of age-related conditions such as cataracts, glaucoma and age related macular degeneration. It is generally advised to get your eyes checked at least once every 2 years as a minimum, but your optometrist may recommend that you attend more regular screenings if you have a family history of eye disease, suffer from diabetes or high blood pressure, or if you are over the age of 70.

At Optical Express, we offer a comprehensive eye test that analyses various aspects of your eye health - including your lifestyle, current prescription, eye pressure, and muscle strength. At selected Optical Express clinics you can upgrade your eye test to an Advanced Eye Test, which includes further diagnostic tests to assess your eye health in even more detail.  

2. Eat a healthy and balanced diet

Filling your plate with plenty of dark-green, leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale is an excellent way of keeping your eyes in top shape. Packed with lutein and zeaxanthin, these greens help to boost your eye health and can even reduce the risk of conditions such as cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Omega-3 fatty acids, which can be found in fish such as salmon, tuna, and halibut, also play a crucial role in maintaining healthy vision. What’s more, they have been found to improve the eye's oil film, which can in turn help to relieve symptoms of dry eye.

A healthy diet also decreases your chance of developing diabetes, which remains the leading cause of preventable sight loss in the UK.*

3. Get active and maintain a healthy weight

Being overweight can affect more than just your heart and blood pressure, it can also be a major risk factor in the onset and progression of many sight-threatening eye issues and diseases. Diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol have all been found to impact on eye health, and studies have now linked obesity to the development of conditions such as cataracts. By hitting the gym a few times a week or regularly going out for a run after work, you can maintain a healthy body weight and protect your vision in the long term.

4. Make sure that your surroundings are well-lit

By the time you turn 60, your eyes need approximately 3 times as much light to be able to see properly as they did when you were 20. Because of this, it’s important to make sure that the areas in which you live and work are well-lit, preferably with natural daylight. By pulling those curtains back, giving your windows a good scrub, and opting for multiple sources of soft and warm light at night, you can prevent tired eyes and keep them healthy over the years.

5. Wear sunglasses when you go outside

We all know that sunlight can damage our skin, but we often forget that it can impact our eyes too. Exposing them to too much ultraviolet light can cause lasting damage and boost your chances of developing conditions such as cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD). By wearing sunglasses that block 99% to 100% of UVA and UVB rays, you can have fun in the sun while also protecting your eyes from its glare, giving you the best of both worlds.

Looking for quality shades that give you optimum protection against harmful UVA and UVB rays? Find styles from designer brands such as Ray-Ban, Oakley and Maui Jim at an Optical Express clinic near you. 

6. Consider quitting smoking

You might be unaware of the link between smoking and various eye diseases, but research has actually shown that it can increase your chances of developing conditions such as cataracts and macular degeneration. Not only that, but smoking can also cause damage to your optic nerve and affect the body’s ability to absorb the vitamins and minerals that play an integral part in maintaining healthy vision – including zinc and lutein.

Kicking the smoking habit has many health benefits, and is key in keeping your eyes in good shape as you grow older. Healthier habits can really lead to healthier eyes, so regardless of how long you have been a smoker, it’s always beneficial to stop.

7. Opt for lens replacement surgery or private cataract surgery

While age-related changes to your eyesight are completely normal and unfortunately often inevitable, there are still various things you can do to help age-proof your vision. This can in turn reduce the risk of age-associated eye problems such as cataracts, which can have a significant impact on your quality of life and cause adverse events such as trips and falls.

If you are already suffering from a cataract and find that it is interfering with your ability to perform everyday tasks like reading or driving, then it might be a good idea to opt for treatment. Cataract surgery is the most common operation performed in the UK and is considered to be one of the safest surgical procedures available. With NHS waiting lists now at a record-high, forcing patients to wait months and sometimes years for treatment, at Optical Express we are proud to be able to treat cataracts in a matter of weeks.

For patients who are suffering with poor vision but have not yet developed cataracts, lens replacement surgery is an increasingly popular treatment used to correct both distance and near vision sight imperfections helping patients to see the world clearly again.

If you have any concerns about your vision, book a free consultation at your nearest Optical Express clinic today to speak to one of our experts.


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