Have you noticed a change in your vision? It’s likely presbyopia, a hardening of the lens that sets in around now. “Like gray hair and wrinkles, it’s a natural sign of aging,” says Steven Zabin, MD, an ophthalmologist at WESTMED Medical Group. And it’s why regular checkups are key. “Between 40 and 54, you should visit the ophthalmologist once every two years, and starting at 55, every year or two,” he says. “We test the entire eye—beyond just vision—to make sure it’s healthy.” That includes dilating the pupils to check for cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, and other maladies that “don’t affect patients’ vision and may not present warning signs, but which, left undetected, can cause irreversible damage.” Between visits, here are Dr. Zabin’s tips to protect eyes:
Wear sunglasses. to protect eyes from UV rays.
Quit smoking. “It hurts the eyes as much as the lungs,” increasing risk of macular degeneration.
Don’t put off a problem. “When you experience pain, redness, or vision problems, see an eye doctor immediately—don’t wait for it to get better.”
Relieve dry eye, caused by both weaker tear glands and too much screen time. “When you’re staring at screens, you don’t blink as much, so the surface doesn’t moisten. Over-the-counter moisturizers for the eyeball can help.”
Eat green leafy vegetables and fish to ensure adequate nutrients, including omega-3s. “If you have dry eye or macular degeneration, omega-3 supplements will help slow progression.”