Vision Disorders Will Negatively Impact Healthy Aging
It’s September 2023 and on Monday, September 4th, we will celebrate Labor Day, which marks the last official day of summer. This month is also known as Healthy Aging Month, emphasizing the importance of aging well. With more and more Baby Boomers and Generation Xers becoming seniors, it’s crucial to focus on maintaining both physical and mental health to enhance our overall quality of life, maintain our independence, and improve our well-being. As we age, various challenges arise, so it’s important to prioritize healthy aging practices. Losing vision, for example, can lead to several health problems, including diabetes, depression, hearing issues, stroke, falls, cognitive decline, and premature death. Therefore, older adults should have knowledge of healthy aging practices. Key components of safeguarding and enhancing brain health include frequent physical activity, a balanced diet, sound sleep, social interaction, mental stimulation, and stress reduction. All of these practices are associated with better memory and cognitive abilities, reducing the likelihood of developing dementia.
According to a report from February 2022, there are more than 12 million people aged 40 and over in the United States who suffer from vision impairment, with one million of them being blind. Globally, the World Health Organization has reported that over 2.2 billion people have eye and vision issues. Furthermore, one out of every six Americans aged 65 and above has a vision impairment that cannot be corrected with glasses or contact lenses, and the likelihood of eye disease increases with age. Unfortunately, many older adults do not seek eye care from an ophthalmologist. In honor of Healthy Aging Month, the American Academy of Ophthalmology raises awareness of the signs and symptoms of vision loss and provides critical steps for seniors to take care of their sight.
Factors that Affect Aging:
- Hormonal imbalances.
- Chronic illness and other comorbidities.
- Lifestyle factors.
- Mental health problems.
- Social factors.
- Environmental factors.
Ways to Lower the Risk of Chronic Diseases and Delay Aging:
- Getting enough physical activity
- Limiting alcohol and stress
- Healthy Eating; Fruits and Vegetables
- Adequate sleep
The National Institute of Health (NIH) Defines Healthy Aging As Identifiable To:
- A specific age
- Being free of long-lasting diseases
- Self-sufficient in activities of daily living
- Good quality of life
- High social participation
- Mild mental or functional loss
- Little or no disability.
Healthy Eating To Enhance And The Benefits
A lack of vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, Vitamin E, Zinc, and Lutein in your diet can increase the risk of age-related vision conditions such as macular degeneration. NIH/NEI recommends the following for healthy vision:
- Eat healthy foods like dark, leafy greens like spinach, kale, and collard greens
- Eat fish like salmon, tuna, and halibut which are high in omega-3 fatty acids
- Be physical. It can also lower your risk of health conditions that can cause eye health or vision problems — like diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
- Stop smoking. It is bad for your lungs, eyes and increases the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts diseases, and harms the optic nerve
- Wear sunglasses that block 99 to 100 percent of both UVA and UVB radiation
- Wear protective eyewear like safety glasses and goggles
- Don’t overwork your eyes. Given them a break every 20 minutes to look at something about 20 feet away for 20 seconds
- Take the appropriate steps to prevent eye infections due to contact lenses
Healthy Lifestyle And The Benefits
Medline Plus believes that the following things can help keep your eyes healthy and make sure you are seeing your best:
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Get regular exercise
- Wear sunglasses
- Wear protective eyewear
- Avoid smoking
- Know your family medical history
- Know your other risk factors
Contact us if you have concerns about your health. We welcome the opportunity to examine your eyes and ensure your vision health.