5 Steps to Lower Your Risk of Eye Disease
The staggering statistics on eye disease will certainly make yours cross. By your 65th birthday, you could be among the one in three Americans suffering from eye disease. The common culprits are age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and cataracts. Amblyopia and strabismus are other common eye disorders that have more than 4.2 million Americans dealing with partial vision or total blindness.
Instead of closing your eyes to the possibility that one of these disease could affect you, doctors at the Eye Medical Center of Fresno want you to be aware of the causes and symptoms. Steps you take now, including regular exams that could lead to early detection of abnormalities, can save your sight for the long-term.
5 Simple Steps to Take Control of Your Eye Health
1. Get a comprehensive medical eye exam at age 40
Early signs of disease or changes in vision could begin as young as age 40. Seeking out an exam by an ophthalmologist is the best way to start.
2. Know your family history
Unfortunately, certain eye diseases are inherited. If you have a close relative with macular degeneration, you have a 50 percent chance of developing issues, too. Fifty percent! For example, studies show a family history of glaucoma increases your glaucoma risk by four to nine times. Talk to older family members about their eye conditions and what they were diagnosed with. It can help your eye doctor evaluate your risk.
3. Eat healthy foods
They’re good for your eyes, too! Strive to eat unprocessed, natural foods that are low in fat. Choose fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Vegetable oils, nuts, and fish are also among the choices that benefit your overall health.
4. Stop smoking
You know you should, but it’s so hard to quit. What if you knew it could lead to cataracts and age-related macular degeneration? Smoking raises the risk of heart diseases which indirectly influence your eye health. Tobacco smoke, even second-hand smoke, results in dry eye or makes the condition worse.
5. Wear sunglasses
They’re not just for looking cool! Exposure to ultraviolet UV light is unhealthy for your skin and eyes. The likelihood of cancer, fleshy growths around the eyes and cataracts goes up with all unprotected outdoor activity. Always wear a hat, sunscreen and sunglasses with 100 percent UV protection while outdoors. Just 20 minutes in the sun is enough to cause damage
Since eye diseases have no obvious signs of their presence, such as pain, they are not often detected in time to be treated effectively. A routine checkup with an ophthalmologist — a physician who specializes in medical and surgical eye care — is more likely to result in catching an eye disease quickly. The sooner the better as early detection can delay or stop disease, and in the case of cataracts, actually restore normal vision.