With increased age, comes an increased risk for vision problems. People over the age of 50 are more likely to suffer from eye disease. They need to be proactive and receive specialized care to maintain their eye health as well as overall health as they age.

Check out MOA’s 5 ‘Must Do’ Steps to Care for the Aging Eye:

1 – Seek Care When You Have Symptoms 

Loss of vision, double vision, blurry vision, pain or swelling of the eye and floaters can all be signs of a serious eye problem. Don’t delay care or just consult ‘Dr. Google’ for an answer and hope things will get better. Seek professional medical eye care and seek it quickly!

These types of unpleasant symptoms may become more frequent with age. Having them assessed and addressed rapidly could make the difference between getting the care you need to heal or risking the loss of vision through the progression of eye disease. Contact your medical eye care professional immediately upon onset of symptoms – they will guide you on when and how you should seek care.

2 – Keep Up with Regular Eye Care
Just like you go to the doctor for annual physicals, blood work and other testing, getting an Annual Eye Physical is equally important. Many eye diseases begin and progress without any symptoms. Many patients with glaucoma, macular degeneration and other serious eye diseases don’t exhibit any symptoms early on, making it even more important to get checked regularly.

Beyond that, a dilated eye exam offers Medical Optometrists the chance to observe key parts of your cardiovascular and neurological systems. Diseases that can lead to dementia and several serious neurological conditions, as well as many cardiology problems, can be detected in a dilated exam.

An MOA Annual Eye Physical with specialized Ocular Imaging tests offers you a baseline starting point for your eye health and allows you to track the status of any eye diseases or challenges you are facing. An Annual Eye Physical is an important part of a yearly wellness plan, just like dental cleanings and check-ups, mammograms and skin checks with dermatologists.

3 – Follow Doctor’s Instructions Fully and Completely
Getting care is important when any challenges with your eyes arise and it is important to follow through on treatments. While you may feel better after a treatment or after just a few days of taking drops or medication, make certain you continue to take the drops or medication for the full duration of the prescription. Also, be diligent in attending any follow up appointments that give your doctors the chance to make absolutely certain the course of treatment is having the intended effect.

Shortcutting on medications or skipping out on follow up exams or treatments is never a good idea and are even more critical for patients as they age.

4 – Protect Your Eyes with Safety Glasses and Sunglasses
According to numerous surveys, vision is the most precious of the five senses. Protect your vision and eyes throughout your lifetime with safety glasses and sunglasses. Whether tackling yardwork with a weed eater or blower, using common household cleaning chemicals or even cooking with a grill, smoker or hot grease, simple safety glasses can go a long way in protecting your eyes and preserving your sight.

In addition, wearing sunglasses that offer UV protection and wide-brimmed hats to shade and protect your eyes offers an important measure of protection against a number of eye conditions, including cancer and cataracts.

5 – Focus on Overall Wellness
The eye is really a microcosm of your body. Starting a regular routine of exercise and eating well can make a huge difference in how early and how severely you encounter eye disease throughout your lifetime.

“When you are young, your cells can regenerate and deal with most anything you throw at your body, including poor diet and lack of exercise,” says Dr. Christopher Kuc, FAAO, Medical Director at MOA – Newtown Square and passionate wellness advocate. “Over time, your metabolism changes and your body ages at a cellular level and can’t replicate or stay healthy through anything. That’s why establishing good habits when you are young will pay dividends and limit your risk for diseases as you get older.”
Eliminating refined sugars and excess fat and adding more leafy greens, berries and other foods that are high in antioxidants can offer a strong defense against the effects of aging on your body and your eyes. Adding more fish to your diet and including Omega 3 supplements in your regular routine is very important for overall health and eye health. Getting plenty of high-quality sleep is also a key component of wellness that needs to be a top priority.

There is no doubt your vision and eyes will change naturally over time but being conscious of and caring for your eye health is important and will pay dividends over time to help maintain stronger vision, healthier eyes and a healthier you! Remember these five tips and take charge of your eye health so you can preserve your vision to enjoy a lifetime of special moments including vacations, family weddings and time with grandchildren.