Keep Systemic Health Problems in Check
Midlife is usually when systemic health problems like high blood pressure and diabetes may be diagnosed or become more problematic. These diseases can also affect eye health. In fact, one warning sign of both high blood pressure and diabetes is when you notice your ability to see clearly changes often.
Make sure you tell your ophthalmologist about your health conditions and what medications and nutritional supplements you use. You should also discuss with your ophthalmologist your exercise, eating, sleeping and other lifestyle choices. Remember, your overall health and eye health are related.
Relieve Dry Eye
This annoying and uncomfortable eye problem becomes more common as we age. Post-menopausal women are more likely than men to have dry eye due to hormonal changes. However, men also suffer from more dry eye as they grow older.
Dry eye is usually treated with over-the-counter or prescription eye lubricants. If dry eye is severe, you might talk to your ophthalmologist about procedures to help preserve your eyes' natural tears.
Some dry eye tips are below.
- If you have contact lenses, follow the use guidelines and avoid wearing lenses longer than recommended. If dry eye persists, talk to your ophthalmologist about possible treatments.
- Some medicines can increase dry eye. If you are taking pain relievers, antidepressants, antihistamines, or have questions about your medications, talk with your ophthalmologist.
- Protect eyes with wrap-around sunglasses and avoid smoky, dry, dusty or windy conditions.
- Some research suggests that a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA) may reduce or help prevent dry eye.
- If you are planning to have refractive surgery to correct vision, discuss dry eye treatment with your ophthalmologist.
- Learn how to reduce dry eye and eye strain symptoms when using a computer.
Keep Moving for Your Eye Health
Our eyes need oxygen and good blood circulation, both provided by regular exercise. Regular exercise also helps keep our weight in the normal range, reducing risk of diabetes and of diabetic retinopathy.
Beneficial exercise for your eyes can be as vigorous as running or playing sports, or as gentle as walking, yoga, tai chi, or stretching and breathing.
Remember, when playing sports or exercising outside, use sun safety and protective eyewear.
Sleep Well, See Well
Healthy, uninterrupted sleep is so important for our overall health, including eye health. Sleeping helps our eyes get the moisture and lubrication they need. Also during sleep, our eyes clear out irritants such as dust or allergens that may have accumulated during the day.
Research shows that light-sensitive cells in the eye help with our ability to regulate our wake-sleep cycles. This becomes even more important as we age, when more people have problems with insomnia. While it’s important that we protect our eyes from over-exposure to UV light, our eyes also need to be exposed to some natural light every day. This helps keep sleep-wake cycles on a normal schedule. Also, avoiding computers and phone screens before bed is important as well, as their light can disrupt sleep.