Many people mistakenly believe vision problems are an inevitable part of aging. Although some vision problems are more likely with aging, other factors play a role, such as exercise, diet and exposure to sunlight. All three of these things are within your control, which means you can vastly decrease your chances of developing eye problems with age.
Get Regular Exercise
Studies have found that regular exercise decreases your chance of developing eye-related diseases, such as age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, and glaucoma. Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss in patients over 50 in the United States.
Exercise indirectly protects eye health because it helps manage diabetes and blood pressure. People who have high blood pressure are at higher risk of eye disease. Those with diabetes may develop diabetic retinopathy. Easy forms of exercise include walking and swimming. Remember to always stretch before and after exercising to avoid pulling muscles or otherwise getting injured. If you have limited mobility, you can do knee lifts and shoulder retractions and lift weights.
Wear Sunglasses Outdoors
You should always wear sunglasses outside to protect your eyes from the sun’s UV rays. Prolonged exposure to the sun increases your risk of developing cataracts. UV rays cause about 20% of cataracts cases. The sun’s UV rays can also cause macular degeneration and pterygium, which are growths on the eye. Choose sunglasses that protect against at least 99% of UVA and UVB radiation and wrap around the eyes.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Eating a healthy diet is important for all aspects of your health, including eye health. Zinc, copper, beta carotene, vitamin E, and vitamin C decrease your risk of age-related eye-health decline by up to 25%. Some of the best foods for improving your eye health are fish, nuts, legumes, chia seeds, flax seeds, leafy green vegetables, citrus fruits, carrots, eggs, sweet potatoes and beef. Omega-3 fatty acids, which are abundant in oily fish, are supportive of eye health. Oily fish include tuna, salmon, mackerel, trout, anchovies, herring and sardines. Remember to drink at least eight glasses of water a day as well. Staying hydrated helps protect your eyes.
Exercising regularly, wearing sunglasses outside and eating a healthy diet significantly improve your chances of maintaining good eye health as you age. Even if you’ve already noticed a decline in your eye health, implementing these three things can help reverse some of the damage and prevent or slow down further decline.
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