Have you noticed it getting harder to read signs at a distance, or do you have to hold books further away to read the print? Perhaps you find it difficult to read menus in dimmer light or that night driving is just that little bit harder than it used to be due to increased glare from headlights.

Most people over 40 will have noticed some change in their vision; usuallystarting with close up tasks. This is normal and is largely due to muscles inthe eye weakening with age and affecting our ability to focus. Of course thiscan be frustrating, especially for those who have enjoyed good vision up untilthis point, and unfortunately the aging process can neither be halted norreversed, but there are a number of things you can do to slow down the effectof age on the eyes. Here are six key steps to consider for maximum eyehealth.

  1. Eat Healthy Foods

    One of the easiest ways to improve eye health is to eat a healthy diet full ofantioxidant packed fruit and vegetables. Foods that are recommended to keep theeyes functioning well are those that are full of vitamins A and C such as greenleafy vegetables. Eating fish at least once a week is also suggested in orderto increase your consumption of essential omega-3 fatty acids which arerequired by the macula.

    2. Quit Smoking

    Quitting smoking is one of the best investments you can make with regards tothe health of your eyes. People who smoke run four times the risk of developingmacular degeneration compared to non smokers, and could also develop vasculardisease in the eye. The really good news is that once you stop smoking your eyehealth improves rapidly and quickly becomes as good as that of a person who hasnever smoked.

    3. Wear Sunglasses

    It feels great to be outside on a sunny day, but all that UV light can be toughon your eyes. Wearing sunglasses certainly helps, but remember to check thatthe glasses block both UVA and B for maximum protection. You should also lookfor a brand that can block over 98% of the rays. As some sunlight will still beable to slip past the side of the glasses into your eye, it is also considereda good idea to wear a hat with a wide brim in addition to your glasses.

    4. Working with Computers

    Computers are a necessity for all of us now; however prolonged use can placeunnecessary strain on your eyes. Here are a few tips to help reduce the effectof computer eye strain:

    1. Keep your computer no further than 24 inches from your eyes.
    2. Make sure it is slightly below eye level.
    3. Adjust the lighting in the room to minimise glare from the screen.
    4. Use eye drops to soothe your eyes if they become irritated.

    Finally, remember to blink frequently and take a break every 15 minutes. Duringthis time you should focus on an object further away in order to give your eyesa rest.

    5. Take Regular Exercise

    A component of an all-round healthy lifestyle, regular exercise can also have areal impact on the health of your eye. This is important as it improves bloodcirculation and  ensures your eyesreceive plenty of oxygen. It also means that any toxins are swept quickly away.

    Sticking to the recommended 30 minutes of exercise a day will help keep youreyes younger for longer, however, it’s also worth taking 5 minutes a day tocomplete a set of specialised eye exercises which include; tracing the outlinesof objects, blinking, near/far focusing and zooming (in which you follow thepath of a finger from arm’s length as you bring it close to your face).

    6. Having an Eye Test

    Deteriorating eyesight is a natural part of the aging process and is very common;however there are a number of serious eye conditions which become moreprevalent as you age. Many of their early symptoms are similar to those thatharmlessly present themselves in your later years, so regular eye checks areimportant when it comes to monitoring both your sight and the overall health ofyour eyes. (Every two years is generally recommended and, once registered withan optician, most will send out reminders.)

So, even if you feel your sighthasn’t changed, and even if you aren’t experiencing any immediate problems,it’s well worth going along. After all, those who have the best eye health aremost often the people who have taken a proactive approach to maintaining it.


– Charlotte Metcalfeis a staff writer for the eye health resource YourEye Guide whichprovides free and impartial information on a wide range of eye conditions andtreatments. In her spare time she enjoys writing abouther travels, eating fine steak and drinking finer wine.

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