By the time you enter your 30s, you’ve been advised countless times to wear sunscreen and moisturizer to protect your skin from the effects of aging. But what are you doing to protect your eyes?
Similar to the inevitable display of wrinkles, it’s common – even expected— to experience vision changes as you age. If you know what to look out for, you can anticipate the shift and adjust before simple tasks become difficult. Here are a few things to expect as your eyes mature and how you can protect yourself from vision damage caused by aging.
In Your 40s
In your mid-40s, you may begin to experience age-related nearsightedness known as presbyopia. With presbyopia, you may have more difficulty focusing on up-close objects. The condition is caused by your eyes’ lenses hardening.
Presbyopia isn’t cause for concern. Every adult has some variation when they reach a certain age. In other words, you can expect to purchase a pair of spectacles around the time you turn 40. Most adults with presbyopia require glasses only for reading. For others, they may consider multifocal lenses, allowing the wearer to focus on both distance and up close, as needed.
When you notice a change in your vision, consult your eye doctor. They will be able to suggest the right lenses for your prescription and lifestyle. After your initial exam, we suggest having your eyes examined at least once a year to prevent other age-related eye issues.
In Your 50s
As you age, your eye’s lenses will continue to harden. In other words, you’ll need to continuously update your eyeglass prescription. If you required reading glasses in your 40s, you’ll likely add more pairs into your daily rotation. Additionally, as your prescription gets stronger, you may consider multifocal lenses, so you won’t need to take your glasses on and off as frequently.
In Your 60s
After the age of 60, age-related, eye-health issues become more common. During your annual exam, your eye doctor will check for:
- Glaucoma: Decreased blood pressure in your eye that leads to loss of vision.
- Cataracts: Eye lenses become opaque, impairing your vision.
- Macular Degeneration: Retina deterioration that eventually causes loss of sight.
Don’t wait for your annual exam if you begin experiencing symptoms from any one of these issues. Glaucoma and Macular Degeneration can’t be cured, but they can be treated if they’re detected early.
Helping at Any Age
Though some age-related vision problems are inevitable, you can help prolong those issues and maintain your healthy vision for decades to come with these tips.
- Eat a varied diet. See our list of foods that give your eyes a boost.
- Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption. Smoking increases your risk of macular degeneration.
- Stay active. Not only will regular exercise stave off diabetes-related eye problems, but studies show active people maintain healthy vision for longer than sedentary people.
- Wear sunglasses or wide-brimmed hats to shield your eyes from harmful UV rays. Indirect, not just direct, sunlight is harmful to your eyes, so use protection whenever you’re in the sun.
- Follow the 20-20-20 rule. Staring at a screen for hours can cause digital eye strain. Take regular breaks by spending 20 seconds looking at something 20 feet away every 20 minutes.
- Visit your eye doctor as directed or at least annually. Catch small issues early before they cause lasting damage.
Whether you’re in your 30s or your 70s, do what you can to protect your vision, and always observe and address your vision changes as soon as they arise. Consult your eye doctor in Lawton for any vision-related questions and concerns regarding your eye health.