Those who are over 60 are particularly at risk for developing blindness or poor vision. Many eye diseases have no early symptoms, so it’s important to be aware of how to maintain your eye health to prevent vision loss.
The most common eye disease for seniors is age-related macular degeneration (AMD). This disease degrades central vision, decreasing the ability to see fine details and colors. Without good central vision, a person has difficulty reading, driving, watching TV, and recognizing faces. Caucasians and women are most at risk to develop AMD. Smoking, obesity, family history of AMD, and high cholesterol may also increase your risk.
There is no known treatment for AMD, however, researchers and doctors suggest there is a link between nutrition and the disease. Lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamin C, vitamin E, and zinc supplements may reduce the speed of developing AMD.
Ways to lessen your risk of eye disease include:
- Eating well
- Not smoking
- Wearing sunglasses
- Using safety eyewear when necessary (sports, hazardous jobs, etc.)
- Avoiding computer, phone, and TV screens
- Having an up-to-date eye contact/glasses prescription
- Having frequent eye exams
El Camino Health doctors recommend eye exams every one to two years for people age 65 and older. If you have diabetes, that recommendation changes to every six months. Information obtained from eye exams helps your doctor to know if medical procedures or prescriptions are necessary. Find an ophthalmologist that meets your needs.
This article first appeared in the February 2017 edition of the HealthPerks newsletter.