While the digital age has many advantages, it also has many downfalls, especially for older adults. The continuous exposure to screens can cause significant harm to our eyes and vision. In this post, we'll review several tips to help take care of your eyes. These simple tips will enhance and preserve your vision if you spend time in front of the screen.
First, let's look at major eye problems associated with aging:
- Dry eyes - Due to decreased production of tears and impaired lid function such as Ectropion, many older adults experience eye dryness.
- Presbyopia- Presbyopia is a near-vision blurring that typically starts in the forties and is caused by age-related lens thickening, making the lens flexible. To help deal with reading and close-up work, glasses are usually recommended.
- Posterior Vitreous Detachment and Floaters- Floaters are caused by gel-like vitreous within our eyes degenerating into a more liquefied condition. Patients related to age usually complain of mosquitoes in front of the eye, a sign of floaters. When it is accompanied by light flashes, it is an indication of a pull on the retina. It must be checked right away by an ophthalmologist. Additional symptoms that merit immediate examination include a sudden rise in floaters, reduced vision, and a curtain that falls in front of the eye.
- Cataracts- An age-related clouding of the eye's natural lens is a cataract. The hazy or blurred vision that gradually worsens with time is the most common cataract symptom. Eye inflammation, surgery, or metabolic diseases such as diabetes can accelerate cataract formation. Although cataracts require an operation, it isn't considered sight-threatening, as the vision loss resulting from cataracts is not permanent. Cataract surgery/operation and intraocular lens implantation could reverse the loss of vision resulting from a cataract.
Top 10 Tips for Older Adults to Take Care of Their Eyesight
Now you're aware of common eye problems associated with aging, let's dive into how to preserve our eyesight and eye health. If you spend a lot of time on digital screens, it is particularly important to take precautions. So, how can you best preserve your eyesight? Here are some tips to take care of your vision in the digital age:
1. Regular Eye Checkups
It is best to catch any eye problems as soon as possible so that they can be handled early and appropriately. Many eye problems give no warning signs and can harm your vision very quickly. Make sure to get your eyes checked regularly and get the proper vision care you need.
2. Wear Prescription Lenses
Many older adults need glasses to see things clearly, either at a distance or close-up. Using corrective lenses ensures better visibility and thereby reduces the risk of injuries and falls. In the case of older adults who don't improve their vision through the medical interventions, experts prescribe low vision supports or aids to ensure the individual's independent functioning.
3. Stay Hydrated
For every part of the body, particularly our eyes, water is necessary. The body must remain hydrated so that the eyes will remain hydrated as well. Eyes should always be covered by in thin layer of water to add protection and help facilitate blinking, which helps to wash away bacteria and debris. This layer of water must be maintained, or it will result in irritation. So, drink plenty of water!
4. Wear Blue Protection Glasses
Unlike sunglasses, blue protection glasses, or blue light glasses, are designed to protect your vision when you are in front of a screen. They get their name because they block the computer/phone's blue light, from entering your eyes. This helps prevent computer vision syndrome and promotes better sleep!
5. Keep the Air Moist
A humidifier lets you keep the moist air when you use an air conditioner or a heater continuously. To avoid discomfort and itching, it is essential to keep your eye moist. Itchy eyes can result in an infection if you rub them frequently.
6. Eat Nutritiously
Good vision can be protected and maintained through the right nutrition. Your eyes will not receive proper nutrition through sugar and processed foods. Instead, you incorporate a lot of leafy, dark greens like spinach and kale in your diet. These can help prevent muscular degeneration. Blueberry is also a delicious treat, which can alleviate fatigue. Apricots and carrots are filled with beta carotene that improves good vision.
Learn more from this Healthline article, 7 Best Foods for Healthy Eyes.
7. Wear UV-Protective Glasses
It is critical to protect the eyes from harmful UV-light. You can also protect your eyes with a hat that provides shade for your eyes. Wear UV-protective coated sunglasses. They not only make it more comfortable to be outside and minimize squinting, but they also blog harmful rays from damaging your eyes.
8. Remember to Take a Break
We live in the digital age, and many of our jobs and hobbies rely on computers or mobile devices. It is important to take a break to relax the eyes. Too much screen, television, and telephone exposure can stress our eyes. Strive to blink consciously and look away frequently from the computer screen. Set the alarm every 15-20 minutes to remind yourself to take a break.
9. Don't Smoke
Smoking has been related to a rise in the risk of cataracts and Age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The risk for smokers is 2.5-3.5 times higher for macular degeneration. The chance of AMD rises to 5.5 times if you are 80+ and smoke.
Click here to learn more about the effects of smoking on eyesight from the CDC.
10. Use Proper Lighting
To see properly, eyes require three times as much light when you are 50 as they did at 20. Increase natural light by keeping curtains pulled back and windows clean. Make sure to have good electric lighting, particularly at the bottom and top of stairs, so that you can clearly see the steps. Use a direct light from an adjustable table lamp, positioned to read, so the light does not reflect the page and leads to glare.
Follow these tips, and do your best to minimize risk to your eyes! Let us know in the comments below; what do you do to protect your eyes?