The importance of maintaining good eyesight

A lot of people tend to write off the decline of their eyesight and simply put it down to old age.

Most seniors wear glasses, so it’s just part of the process of getting older. And while technically this is true, there are definitely ways in which you can preserve and protect your eyesight.

But first, why is it important?

If you think about it, there’s a fair amount of freedom that comes with having good eyesight. And I’m not just talking about being able to read without putting your glasses on (although I’m sure this could be a great time saver for some).

What I’m really talking about is driving. As we age, and especially as we hit around 75 years old, there are more and more restrictions in place to ensure that we drive safely.

Depending on which state you’re in, there are different requirements for senior drivers of various ages. In most states, drivers need to pass an annual medical examination from a doctor, which involves an evaluation of your eyesight.

Not passing the examination could potentially result in the loss of your driver’s license or restricted driving conditions.

In other areas of life, good vision is important for many reasons. Eyesight is a major sense, which humans rely on heavily and it’s a huge part of our basic instincts.

It’s also arguably the most important sense we have when it comes to safety. While all of our senses play a role in keeping us safe, sight enables us to see hazards coming. Not having strong sight can make us vulnerable in many ways.

So how can you maintain good eyesight?

Eat well

What you put into your body can seriously impact how your body functions. It’s important to eat nutritious food filled with vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids to maintain good eye health.

This can also help reduce your chances of getting type 2 diabetes, which can also cause blindness in adults. Fill your plate with leafy greens, fish, eggs, oranges and lean meat such as pork.

Don’t read in the dark

This one might sound like an old wives’ tale but straining your eyes to see in the dark logically isn’t the best for them. That said, the New York Times published an article recently disputing this theory.

However, they do say that it can cause short-term strain and headaches, so it’s best to avoid trying to read in the dark where possible.

Put down the cigarettes

Although everyone knows most of the major side effects of smoking, it can actually also cause damage to your optic nerve, which in turn impacts your vision. If you’re a smoker, try to cut back as much as you can.

Cutting smoking out altogether is hard so consider gradually reducing your intake. There is a plethora of apps around that can help you do this and keep track of your progress.

Invest in a good pair of sunnies

Direct sunlight can burn away the layers of film that cover your eyes and can cause macular degeneration. The best thing to do is make sure your sunglasses are polarised, which provides more protection than regular lenses.

Get your eyes checked

How else would you know if what you’re doing is working or not? Check-ups don’t have to be too frequent either – maybe every two to five years.

These will check for symptoms for things like diabetic retinopathy, which can have very few symptoms.

Give your eyes a rest

If you spend a lot of time looking at screens for work, consider reading or doing something else in the evenings. If your eyes are feeling strained while you’re working, look away for a few minutes to rest them or alter the brightness of your screen.

It’s also important to make sure you are blinking enough to prevent them from drying out. Drink enough water throughout the day as well.

Sleep well

Sleeping gives your eyes a chance to reset overnight, so make sure you make the most of that time.

Overworked eyes use sleeping as a chance to relax their muscles completely, which is something that most of us probably don’t get to do enough.

Make sure you exercise

There’s nothing like a bit of blood flow and oxygen to promote good eye health! Exercising stimulates all of your muscles, including your eyes, so it’s a great way to get the blood pumping.

At the end of the day, eyes are an integral part of your overall wellbeing and it’s important to look after them. The more you can do to help them now, the healthier they will be later on down the track.

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