The US population is graying, with the number of Americans aged 65 or older expected to soar from 52 million in 2018 to an astounding 95 million by 2060. As the median age rises, the number of Americans older than age 40 who are blind or visually impaired is projected to grow 118% by 2050.
While it is expected to begin experiencing some vision problems after a certain age, naturally, you would want to preserve normal vision for as long as possible. Thankfully, there are habits you can cultivate now that will help you take care of your eyes for life. Here are a few suggestions.
Choosing protective eyewear
Unfortunately, conditions like myopia cannot be cured — but it is easily managed through refractive surgery or corrective lenses. Today’s multiscreen lifestyle calls for additional protection, particularly against blue light, the constant exposure of which can lead to retinal damage and cause age-related macular degeneration. It’s not just heavy screeners who need blue light glasses, though – blue-violet light primarily comes from the sun, which means filtering blue light is an option for everyone to consider. Transitions Signature GEN 8™ Lenses are a popular choice as they change from clear to tinted depending on light conditions, block out 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays, and also filter blue-violet light between 400nm and 455nm, meaning vision-conscious users don’t have to carry separate pairs for sun time or screen time. Other options, such as protection in an aesthetically clear lens or selective filtering, are available depending on your lifestyle.
Aside from blocking blue light from entering your eyes, you can also filter blue light from your screens themselves. ZAGG’s Glass XTR3 screen protector can filter 60% of blue light at 435nm to 440nm thanks to its Eyesafe RPF60 technology. It preserves screen color quality and brightness, thereby keeping your screen experience unchanged while providing eye protection. However, physical protection will fall short when not supplemented by lifestyle changes that support your eye health.
Taking better eye habits seriously
Previously, we talked about the importance of micro habits, or small, simple, and actionable steps that will help you achieve big goals. They seem insignificant on their own, but their collective power over your quality of life is harnessed when done consistently. You can apply micro habits to eye health as it requires a holistic approach. For starters, one in three Americans don’t get enough sleep, which can lead to serious eye problems like glaucoma over time. Ensure you get adequate rest. Giving your eyes a break is essential, whether this means minimizing your screen time or taking frequent screen breaks. Believe it or not, going outdoors more often impacts long-term eye health, as it allows the eyes to remain used to adapting to various visual ranges, thereby reducing the progression of nearsightedness.
Additionally, practice not rubbing or scratching your eyes if they are irritated. Rubbing can cause scratches in the cornea, leading to even more irritation or, in severe cases, a fungal infection.
Finally, as the rhyme goes, “Eat right to protect your sight.” Load up on omega-3 fatty acids from salmon and tuna, get your Vitamin A fill from carrots, eggs, spinach, and broccoli, and swap out high-fat meats for lean meat and poultry when possible. While protective equipment and health habits cannot guarantee perfect vision for life, they can slow down the deterioration of eye health, allowing you to enjoy the benefits of vision for longer.