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7 Steps to Lower Your Risk of Eye Disease

7 Steps to Lower Your Risk of Eye Disease

As we age, our risk of many diseases and conditions naturally increase. Our eyes are no exception. 

By the time we reach the age of sixty-five, nearly one in three Americans will have developed an eye disease that can impair vision. Age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataracts, and diabetic retinopathy are the top four leading causes of blindness or low vision  reduced vision.

The changes in visual acuity caused by these and other diseases are often imperceptible at first, meaning proper eye care and regular monitoring is key to early detection and treatment.

The sooner a disease is caught, the better able you will be able to combat the progression of the condition.

7 Steps to Lower Your Risk of Eye Disease

While our eyes will inevitably change with time, there are a number of steps anyone can take to help minimize and lower their risk of developing an eye disease as they age. Here are our top seven recommendations.

1. Be Aware of Your Family History

Genetics can put many people at risk of developing eye disease as two of the four most common eye conditions (glaucoma and macular degeneration) can be inherited. It is essential to let your eye care doctor know of this increased risk and to ensure that you have a baseline screening completed before the age of forty. 

Having a baseline screening makes it easier to determine when changes do begin to occur within the eye. And if you receive a diagnosis of a genetic eye condition, make sure to let your other family members know, as it may be appropriate for them to obtain a screening specifically for that condition in addition to a comprehensive eye exam.

2. Eat Healthily

Maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle keeps your entire body healthy, including your eyes. Diabetes, blood pressure, and high cholesterol will all put you at risk of developing eye conditions that can ultimately cause blindness. 

You don’t need to follow any specialty or fad diet. Focus on eye-healthy foods, especially leafy greens, citrus fruits, nuts, and whole grains. You don’t need to eat everything recommended. Work a few into regular meals that sound good to you. A small change still helps and will be easier to stick with long term.

3. Wear Sunglasses

Just like you should be wearing sunscreen to protect your skin from harmful ultraviolet (UV) light, put on a pair of sunglasses to protect your eyes from the same risk. UV radiation can raise the risk of eye diseases, especially cataracts and macular degeneration. Extremely bright lights in general, like direct sun, can slowly damage the retina and optic nerve. 

4. Stop Smoking

Along with all the other harmful effects of smoking on your lungs and cardiovascular system, smoking increases your risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. Tobacco smoke can also cause dry eyes for you or those around you who are exposed to it secondhand.

5. Don’t Pick Up Vaping .

Vaping increases the oxidative stress in your eyes and can contribute to diseases like cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration.  The most common side effect of vaping is dry eye.

6. Protect Your Eyes

Genetics and nutrition play a huge role in eye health but don’t forgo general protection when engaging in activities that could lead to an eye injury. Make sure to wear adequate safety gear when playing sports, on job sites, and when enjoying hobbies. 

Blunt injuries, irritants, and scratches can all put you at risk for eye disease later in life and even push that risk forward to earlier ages.

7. Schedule an Eye Exam

With the exception of cataracts, most eye conditions can’t be cured or reversed. However, they can be treated if caught early enough, preventing or slowing their progression into more acute vision loss. It is essential to have regular eye exams to minimize your risk of damage from undiagnosed eye conditions. 

It isn’t just your eye health you will be helping. A thorough eye exam can catch symptoms of other health conditions ranging from cardiovascular disease, auto-immune disorders, and diabetes before other symptoms show. An eye exam might not only save your vision, but your life.

Eye Care Tailored for You

We all have different histories and lifestyles, making everyone's eye care needs unique. You should have an eye doctor that takes you into consideration and can give common-sense recommendations. 

Schedule an appointment with Asheville Vision and Wellness today to see what experienced care with the latest technology can do for your vision needs. For over three decades, we have helped patients throughout western North Carolina with a wide variety of eye care, including comprehensive eye examinations, contact lenses, and medical eye evaluations.  We also have a wide variety of the latest in eyewear from basic to designer.

If you need a regular eye exam or think you may be at risk for eye disease, come in and talk to our specialists today. Our optometrists are certified in diagnosing, treating, and managing ocular diseases.