Taking care of your eyes is a good idea at any time, but if you’ve been neglecting to do so, make a renewed commitment to your eyesight in March during Save Your Vision Month.
Save Your Vision Month was started by the American Optometric Association to focus attention on steps that individuals can take to preserve their eyesight. Save Your Vision Month is not specifically targeted at aging parents or other seniors, but since eyesight generally deteriorates with age, seniors are naturally a large part of its intended audience.
What can you do to save your vision?
- Test it. The first and most obvious step is to make sure that you get regular eye examinations. Changes in vision as you age are common; identifying those changes and taking steps to keep problems from developing or worsening is much better than having to treat a full-blown problem.
- Talk about it. People often don’t bring up possible eye concerns with their doctors, either because they think there’s nothing to worry about or because they are afraid of finding out that there might actually be a problem. Don’t fall into either of these traps; if you notice a change in your vision, even if it seems small and insignificant, let your doctor know about it. It’s better that your doctor should have too much information than too little.
- Tell your doctor about your meds. Your eye doctor needs to know which medications you are taking, including prescription and over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, and herbs. Sometimes a vision change may be associated with a particular medication. Knowing your current medication routine also helps your doctor know if he or she needs to suggest an alteration in that routine.
- Don’t be afraid to change your prescription. Some people resist moving on to stronger prescription lenses, but doing so only causes more strain on their eyes.
- Keep fit. Your overall health can have an impact on your vision. Maintaining a healthy weight, eating properly, and not smoking are all factors that can help preserve your eyesight as you age.
- Light it up or darken it down. The muscles that control pupil size weaken as people age, which increases the need for more light when reading. Bright outdoor light can become more distracting as well, so keep a nice pair of sunglasses handy.
- Be vision aware. Many vision-related diseases are more common among older adults. These include macular degeneration, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy. Talk about these with your doctor and find out if he or she thinks you might be at risk of developing any of them and if so, what you can do to prevent this from happening.
Save Your Vision Month is an excellent opportunity to commit to making sure your vision (or the vision of your aging parents or spouse) is at its best for years to come.