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We are constantly reminded to take care of our bodies through proper health and exercise. We can often justify spending a little extra when it comes to our health—whether than means joining a yoga class or buying organic products. And not only do we invest our money into our health, but we also invest a great deal of our time. We take the time to grow plants free of pesticides or set aside strict exercise in order to keep ourselves in tip-top shape.
And there is absolutely nothing wrong with this; however, it does seem like we pay a little more attention to certain parts of our health than others. For example, cardiovascular health is commonly seen as the most important—and hey, don’t get me wrong here; it’s important to have a strong and healthy heart. But after we get the major organs in shape, it’s important to remember other aspects involved in staying healthy. As grim as it may seem, it’s generally a fact of life that as we age, our bodies begin to slow down. The activities of our youth may begin to take a toll, and suddenly our movements aren’t so swift and our senses seem to dull.
One of the main ailments that plague the aging population is the decline of vision. There are many reasons why our eyesight may decrease as we get older, and if you’re noticing a change in your vision, don’t hesitate! Pick up the phone and contact your optometrist. While it is likely nothing more than age-related vision loss, there are serious conditions such as cataracts and glaucoma that have increased risk with age. The longer you let your eyes strain without attention from an eye doctor, the more likely the damage will increase. While it’s important to have regular checkups to ensure the health of your eyes, it is equally important to take care of your eyes from home in natural ways.
There are many reasons that vision can fade with age. The best way to understand vision loss is to begin to understand the structure and functions of the eye.
Why Does Aging Impair My Vision?
The eye is a complex mini-system working hard to provide us with sight. The eye is composed of multiple facets (including the cornea, pupil, lens, iris, and retina) that are all equally important in maintaining proper vision. Simply put, light enters through our cornea with some help from the lens. The light refraction that is absorbed is delivered to the retina, which sends signals to our brains telling us what to see.
With this understanding of the eye, it seems obvious that any disruption in the absorption of light will also affect the images that we see. Imagine trying to watch a movie with a damaged film reel. It doesn’t sound like a very entertaining way to pass the time! Just like a damaged reel of film, a damaged part of the eye can compromise its entire purpose. If we don’t nourish and tend to the maintenance of our machine, parts can stop working, and it may break down entirely. Remember though, some problems with the eye cannot be prevented simply through proper maintenance, which is why regular eye checkups are extremely important, even for the healthiest of eyes!
Shrinking Vitreous Fluid
As we age, parts of our eyes simply begin to deteriorate naturally. The gel-like substance that gives our eyes their bulging nature is called vitreous fluid. This fluid fills the entire eye, from the front of the lens, to the back of the retina. With age, the fluid inside our eye begins to naturally shrink. Imagine a gelatin dessert sitting out on the counter over a long period of time. Eventually the moisture will naturally leave, and the gelatin will begin to shrink. This is what happens with the gel in our eyes. Often this can happen and not cause any side affects.
If the fluid continues to shrink, it may eventually lead to the detachment of your retina, which is not good news! This can lead to permanent problems with your eyesight, and can even result in permanent blindness. People who have myopia, commonly known as near-sightedness, are much more likely to develop a detached retina. If you begin to experience any flashes of light or an increase of floaters in your eye, contact your doctor immediately.
Five Steps To Prevention
As we hear over and over again, the best method for avoiding the loss of any bodily function is prevention. Take care of your eyes now, and you will reap the benefits later on in your life. Maintaining the overall health of your body and eyes is very important. Below are five easy and effective ways to keep your eyes in great shape. Remember, your eyes are organs, and all organs need to be cared for in order to function properly.
- Drink lots of water. Drinking lots of water will keep your eyes moist and hydrated and potentially stave off the deterioration of your vitreous fluid. If your eyes are still feeling dry after you increase your H2O intake, talk to your optometrist about getting a saline solution in order to keep them moist and deter irritation.
- Keep sunlight out. Even on the shortest of trips outdoors, it’s important to toss on your UVA protective sunglasses to prevent sun damage, which will weaken your eye.
- Take your supplements. Fatty acids such as fish oil (which contain the miraculous omega-3 fat) are great for your eyes. Vitamins A, C, and E are also little vision helpers and should be included in every diet.
- Eat properly. Certain foods contain major health benefits to the eye and your vision. These foods include dark green leafy vegetables, carrots, and avocados.
- Exercise your vision. Your eyes get exhausted from the same type of stimuli, whether it’s a certain color or a constant distance. If you’re reading or focusing your eyes on one thing for a long period of time, make sure you take regulars breaks and focus on something different for a few minutes. The general rule for this is after about twenty minutes of focusing, make sure you switch it up!
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