Eye health should be at the top of our list. The eyes are not only the windows to your soul – they may also provide pretty good insight into your overall health. In fact, changes your doctor detects in your eyes can flag conditions like diabetes, hypertension, rheumatoid arthritis, and maybe even your risk for Alzheimer’s – not to mention occular diseases, which can sneak up on you.
An estimated 61 million of us are at high risk for serious vision loss. The eyes have many delicate parts, so they simply don’t age very well. Regular checkups, including a dilated eye exam in which the ophthalmologist can look at your eyes’ inner workings, are key to spotting conditions that put you at risk, including Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD).
AMD is a progressive eye condition that can impact central vision, causing difficulty conducting daily tasks such as driving, reading, and recognizing faces. It can destroy the macula, the part of the eye that provides sharp, central vision needed for seeing objects clearly. Your ophthalmologist can distinguish between this and Diabetic Retinopathy (DR). DR is caused by uncontrolled type 1 or 2 diabetes and can have the same dar or empty areas of vision, as well as spots (floaters), blurred vision, fluctuating vision, impaired color vision, and vision loss.
Help reduce your risk of developing eye disease
- avoid smoking
- exercise regularly
- maintain normal blood pressure and cholesterol
- eat a healthy diet that includes green leafy vegetables and fatty fish
- wear sunglasses, even in the winter months
- use safety goggles when playing sports
- use safety goggles when using a hammer, nail gun, chemicals that can splash into your eyes, or grinding/sawing items where small shards can fly into your eyes
- store preservative-free single-use artificial tears in your refrigerator. The drops help flush out irritants and the chill feels especially soothing.
- don’t rub your eyes
- take regular breaks from screens (e.g., phone, tv, computer, laptops, tablets, gaming consoles)
Start better health today by calling and making your eye exam!
Meryl Davids Landau, Good Housekeeping March 2020
Additional articles, Good Housekeeping March 2020