Nobody likes to admit they are aging, but as time passes it is important to take care of your body and your eyes. September is Healthy Aging Month, and it is a great time to remind yourself of the things you can do to protect your vision as you age. Many vision issues can arise with age and there are many very simple ways to help prevent them.
As we age and approach those golden years, we are at a higher risk for eye diseases including age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, as well as eye conditions such as dry eye and low vision. More than 40 million Americans are currently 65 years or older, this number is expected to grow to more than 88 million by 2050 and not coincidentally, the number of Americans with age-related eye diseases is expected to double. Early detection and treatment are key to saving sight.
Fortunately, there are a few simple ways to protect yourself and your eyes such as: wearing sunglasses and a hat when going outside, eating healthy, participating in physical activities. Being healthy helps lower risk of health conditions that can cause vision problems, and smoking can harm the optic nerve and increases your risk of macular degeneration and cataracts.
Resting your eyes also helps fight vision problems that can arise. When using technology be sure to follow the 20/20/20 rule and give your eyes a break from the screen every 20 minutes by looking at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
The best and most effective way to protect your eyes is to see your eye doctor on a regular basis. Many vision issues are best treated when caught in early stages, and as noted previously, many can be hard to detect. Having a comprehensive eye exam annually helps dramatically reduce the risk of long-term vision impairment. Studies have demonstrated that optomap ultra-widefield (UWF™) retinal imaging is fulfilling a need in supporting the detection and management of both ocular and systemic diseases associated with aging. UWF imaging provides a high resolution, single-capture image of 82% (or 200 degrees) of the retina.
Taking care of your eyes and your vision is important in all stages of life and should not fall by the wayside as you age, and early detection is key. Talk to your eye care professional about including optomap as part of your next eye exam. optomap helps doctors discover and document the retina with little or no face-to-face interaction and takes only seconds to get a highly-detailed view of the retina, which is critical for detection and management of both ocular and systemic diseases at any age.