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For Seniors: Don't Take Your Eyes for Granted

Imagine what life would be like if you couldn't see well. Reading might not be possible. Watching a movie could be tough. Focusing on the face of a loved one could drive you to tears.

The number of people losing their vision is growing, yet experts say much of this vision loss could be prevented.

Don't put off regular eye exams because your eyes feel fine or you don't wear glasses or contact lenses. Signs of some eye diseases like glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration (AMD), might be present before you notice symptoms.

Get annual exams

People who are 65 or older should have an annual dilated eye exam even if they are seeing well.

Many diseases cause vision loss as we age, but AMD is among the Western world's top causes of blindness. Leading to loss of your central vision, it may cause dark spots in your sight, make straight lines appear wavy, or cause text to seem blurry. AMD, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, and dry eye syndrome can all rob you of sight.

It's best to see your eye healthcare provider before trouble starts. But these signs should prompt a visit at once:

  • Trouble seeing objects close up or far away

  • Colors that seem faded

  • Poor night vision

  • Double or multiple vision

  • Loss of side vision

  • Poor central vision or straight objects that look wavy

  • Blurry text or type

Save aging eyes

  • See your eye healthcare provider regularly (yearly if you're 65 or older)

  • Don't smoke. Ask your healthcare provider for help if you smoke and have trouble quitting.

  • Wear sunglasses that protect your eyes from UVA and UVB rays when you are outside. Wear them even on cloudy days and at high altitudes.

  • Exercise regularly. The CDC states that all adults should avoid inactivity and stresses that some physical activity is better than none. For substantial health benefits, the CDC recommends adults do at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) a week of moderate intensity exercise or 75 minutes (1 hour and 15 minutes) of vigorous aerobic exercise, or a combination of moderate and vigorous intensity aerobic activity. 

  • Eat healthy, especially leafy green vegetables and foods with omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon and tuna. 

Medical Reviewers:

  • Fraser, Marianne, MSN, RN
  • Haupert, Christopher L., MD