Consider these tips to help save your vision

Consider these tips to help save your vision

Many people take their vision for granted, but what if you started to lose your peripheral vision, developed a black spot in the center of your visual field or even went blind altogether?

For almost 4 million American seniors living with serious vision loss or blindness, these and other vision challenges can make it difficult to enjoy life’s simple pleasures such as reading, playing cards or watching grandchildren grow. Vision loss can also make it difficult to live independently, work or drive.

Not all eye diseases can be prevented, but certain lifestyle choices can help you keep your vision healthy. To protect healthy vision, ophthalmologists — eye physicians and surgeons — encourage seniors to follow these top five tips to safeguard vision:

• Get an eye exam. To protect healthy vision, seniors age 65 and older should have a dilated eye exam every one to two years or as recommended by their ophthal­mologist.

Visit

to learn if you or a loved one qualifies for an eye exam at no out-of-pocket cost with one of EyeCare America’s volunteer ophthalmologists.

• Know your family history. Such eye diseases as age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, and glaucoma can run in families, so it’s important to know your family’s history of eye disease and talk to your ophthalmologist about any possible genetic risk factors.

• Don’t smoke. Tobacco smo­king is directly linked to many adverse health effects, including cataracts and AMD. Studies show that current smokers and ex-smokers are more likely to devel­op AMD than people who have never smoked.

• Eat right. A variety of vegetables, especially leafy green ones, are an important part of an eye-healthy diet.

• Protect your eyes from injuries. An estimated 2.5 million eye injuries occur in the United States each year, so it is critical to wear proper eye protection to prevent eye injuries, especially during home projects like gardening and cleaning.

EyeCare America provides care at no out-of-pocket cost to seniors age 65 and older who have not seen an ophthalmologist in three or more years and do not belong to an HMO or receive eye-care benefits through Veterans Affairs. To learn about eligibility, visit

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EyeCare America is co-sponsored by the Knights Templar Eye Foundation Inc., with additional support provided by Alcon.