Eye Health at Every Age

Posted By Key-Whitman Eye Center || 30-Mar-2012

Eye conditions don’t only affect older adults. Many vision problems and eye conditions can show up in childhood, teenage and early adult years. From childhood years, where our eyes are developing through adulthood, there are particular things to look for, and ways to protect eye health.

Children and teenagers -The eyes are typically fully developed by the time a person reaches their early 20s. Children and teenagers should have routine eye exams to check for vision problems. It is not uncommon for a child or teenager’s eye glasses or contact lens prescription to change from year to year. For the most part, our vision remains steady as we reach adulthood.

Children and teenagers who participate in youth sports are at higher risk of eye injuries, especially those who play baseball or softball, hockey, racquet sports and participate in boxing or martial arts. Whenever possible, eye protection should be worn. Hockey and lacrosse players should wear polycarbonate masks at all times.

Children and teenagers should also get regular exercise to improve circulation to the eye and avoid smoking, as it increases their chances of developing cataracts as an adult. Contact lenses that are not prescribed by an eye doctor can result in abrasions to the eye and cause eye infections that could result in blindness. Children and adults should only wear contact lenses that are prescribed and properly fitted by their eye doctor.

Adults under 40 - During early adulthood, vision should be fully developed, and we are at lower risk of experiencing eye conditions such as cataracts, although adults under 40 are not completely exempt from developing such eye conditions. As adults, regular vision screening and testing for glaucoma is essential to maintaining eye health.

Like children and teenagers, exercise is important in our overall health. Exercise is also crucial in promoting healthy eyes. Not only does exercise stimulate healthy blood circulation, but it also reduces risk of diabetes and diabetic retinopathy.

Adults should also avoid smoking or quit smoking. Smoking increases chances of developing cataracts, but it can also increase risk of severe vision loss in adults who already have an eye disease. Smoking while pregnant puts babies at higher risk of premature birth and retinopathy of prematurity, which could result in blindness.

Middle-aged adults- This is the time of life when many eye conditions and diseases begin to develop. Early detection through complete eye exams can help prevent severe vision loss.

Health problems like high blood pressure and diabetes can affect eye health as well. If you have been diagnosed with any systemic health problems, keep your eye doctor well informed so he or she will be more aware during exams, and keep a careful watch on any potential vision problems. As a rule of thumb, individuals under 50 should see their eye doctor biennially. Adults over 50 should visit annually, as well as anyone who wears glasses or contacts.

Exercise is equally important for middle-aged adults to prevent diabetic retinopathy and promote proper circulation to the eyes. Be sure to wear protective eye wear and sunglasses to protect from the sun’s dangerous ultra-violet rays.

Adults over 60 - Remember that normal aging should not cause vision loss. If you have experienced vision loss or drastic changes in your vision, consult with your eye doctor. Some vision changes, however, are normal with age. Presbyopia develops with age and can make focusing and adjusting to light changes more difficult. Older adults with existing eye conditions may find driving at night or in the rain more challenging as they age.

Once again, a healthy lifestyle is one of the best things we can do to maintain our vision as we age. Exercise regularly and avoid smoking to keep your eyes healthy. Protect yourself from eye injuries by situating your home so as to avoid falls as much as possible. Falling is one of the leading causes of eye injuries in older adults. As we age, it’s important to give as much attention to the health of our eyes as we do our overall health. Regular eye exams and screenings for eye conditions should be part of your health routine. Don’t assume vision loss is normal as you age. If you experience changes in your vision, it’s always wise to consult with your eye doctor, rather than brushing it off as “old age.”

When considering your eye care, be sure to stay up to date with the latest news and information about our life-changing services at Key-Whitman Eye Center. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay connected!

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