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KOA: Aging adults should follow simple tips to improve eye health, combat vision changes

It’s a fact of life that vision can change over time, resulting in a number of noticeable differences in how well aging adults see the world around them. According to the American Optometric Association, 78 percent of adults age 55 or older report experiencing some vision loss.

With Older Americans Month being celebrated in May, the Kentucky Optometric Association (KOA) is encouraging seniors to have regular eye exams, develop healthy habits and follow simple lifestyle tips.

older Americans month

“The number of blind and visually impaired people is expected to double over the next 16 years,” said Dr. Vaughn Sanders, an optometrist in Owensboro. “This staggering statistic has implications for millions of aging Americans, but these changes don’t have to compromise a person’s lifestyle. Maintaining good health and seeing an eye doctor on a regular basis are important steps to help preserve vision.”

Common age-related vision problems include difficulty seeing things up close or far away, problems seeing in low light or at night, and sensitivity to light and glare. Dry eye is another common and often chronic condition when there are insufficient tears to nourish the eye.

Aging Americans will represent 19 percent of the population by 2030, up from 12 percent in 2000. Many eye diseases have no early symptoms and may develop painlessly, so adults may not notice changes in vision until the condition is quite advanced. Healthy lifestyle choices can help ward off eye diseases and maintain existing eyesight.

“Eating a low-fat diet rich in green, leafy vegetables and fish, not smoking, monitoring blood pressure levels, exercising regularly and wearing proper sunglasses to protect eyes from UV rays can all play a role in preserving eyesight and eye health,” Sanders said. “Early diagnosis and treatment of serious eye diseases and disorders is critical and can often prevent a total loss of vision, improve adults’ independence and quality of life.”

For those suffering from age-related eye conditions, the KOA recommends following these simple tips:

Control glare: Purchase translucent lamp shades, install light-filtering window blinds or shades, use matte or flat finishes for walls and countertops, and relocate the television to where it does not reflect glare.

Use contrasting colors: Decorate with rugs, light switches and telephones that are different colors so they can be spotted quickly and easily.

Give the eyes a boost: Install clocks, thermometers and timers with large block letters. Magnifying glasses can also be used for reading when larger print is not available.

Change the settings on mobile devices: Increase the text size on the screen of smartphones and tablets and adjust the screen’s brightness or background color.

Stay safe while driving: Wear quality sunglasses for daytime driving and use anti-reflective lenses to reduce headlight glare. Limit driving at dusk, dawn or at night if seeing under low light is difficult.

To find an optometrist in your area, please visit www.kyeyes.org.

From Kentucky Optometric Association

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