Protecting your eyesight

To protect your eyesight and keep your eyes healthy as you age, follow these guidelines:

1) Be aware of your risk for eye disease. Know your family’s health history. Do you or any of your family suffer from diabetes or have high blood pressure? Are you over the age of 65? All of these factors increase your risk for sight-threatening eye diseases.

2) Have regular exams to check for diabetes and high blood pressure. If left untreated, these diseases can cause eye problems. In particular, diabetes and high blood pressure can lead to diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration, glaucoma and ocular hypertension. Regular eye exams can detect problems early and help preserve your eyesight.

3) Look for changes in your vision. If you start noticing changes in your vision, see your eye doctor immediately. Trouble signs include double vision, hazy vision and difficulty seeing in low light conditions. Other signs to look for include frequent flashes of light, floaters, and eye pain and swelling. All of these signs and symptoms can indicate a potential eye health problem that needs immediate attention.

4) Exercise frequently. Some studies suggest that regular exercise – such as walking – can reduce the risk of macular degeneration by up to 70 percent.