Aging is a natural process that affects our faces and bodies, but the passing of time also affects your eyes. You have very little influence over most types of aging, but there are some age-related eye conditions that can be prevented. By making a few simple lifestyle changes, you can reduce the risk of developing cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration.
When Do Age-Related Eye Conditions Start?
Each patient is unique, but the general guideline is that age-related changes to your eyes and vision start around the time that you turn 40 years old. This is when the lens of the eye becomes more rigid, membranes thin out and other structures change. We recommend a comprehensive eye exam around the time that you turn 40 so that we have a good baseline for comparison during future eye exams.
Give Up Smoking
Smoking is a habit that affects every part of your body, including your eyes. As you get older, the effects of smoking magnify. Nicotine causes changes in the eye, such as vascular constriction, changes to the cells and oxidative stress. People who currently smoke or who have smoked in the past are four times more likely to develop ARMD which is the leading cause of blindness.
Stay Fit and Active
Studies have found that cataracts develop more in people who are overweight than those who stay near their ideal weights. People who are obese are also at greater risk for developing glaucoma due to an increased fluid level inside the eye. If you have diabetes, high blood pressure or other medical conditions, these also increase your risk for glaucoma.
Cataracts have been linked to people who do not use sunglasses regularly, especially those who have lighter skin and blue eyes. Ultraviolet light changes the way that your cells metabolize, so you should use sunglasses that protect against UV-A and UV-B rays. Sunglasses that wrap around the eyes are preferred because they prevent sunlight from hitting your eyes from the sides as well as the front.
Learn More About Eye Care for Older Patients. Contact Southside Eye Care.
To learn more about age-related eye conditions, dry eye, laser vision correction and our other services, contact Southside Eye Care to schedule an appointment. You can reach our office in Chesapeake, Virginia, directly at (757) 484-0101.