Seeing is Believing: 8 Tips for Better Eye Health

eye health

Vision impairment is on the rise, and seniors are at a higher risk for developing vision problems than other age groups. Vision protection doesn't have to be expensive or time-consuming. By practicing simple, everyday habits, seniors can reduce their risk of extreme vision impairment.

Seniors at Higher Risk for Vision Impairment

American adults are at an increased risk of eye disease over the age of 40, and the chance of developing vision impairment or blindness skyrockets after the age of 75.  

Poor vision puts you at an increased risk of falling. Even a simple fall can lead to long-term injuries. Taking care of your eyes is an important preventative measure for your overall health. Read on for great tips to protect your eyesight!

1.       Wearing Sunglasses with UV Protection

If you’re heading out for a day of fun in the sun, you’ll probably pack sunscreen to protect your skin. Don’t forget to bring sunglasses, too! Ultraviolet (UV) exposure can increase your risk of developing cataracts or clouding in the eye lens[1]. Cataracts usually develop with age, but UV exposure can expedite the process.

Tips for choosing the best sunglasses:

  • Look for sunglasses that say, “100% protection against UVA and UVB,” or “100% protection against UV 400.”
  • Pick a light colored lens. A dark colored lens forces your pupil to dilate and encourages UV radiation to infiltrate the eye. 
  • Consider wraparound sunglasses. UV rays can enter through the sides of sunglasses. A wraparound pair can provide extra protection against harmful UV exposure. 

2.       Exercising

Time to get moving! A study from 2015 found that physical activity decreased the risk of age-related cataracts[2]. If you’re worried that you’ll have to become a gym rat to see eye health benefits, don’t be. Walking for an hour per day can reduce your chances of developing cataracts, but you don’t even have to hit that mark to protect your eyesight. Take a high-energy 20-minute walk about four times per week for best results.

How does exercise impact eye health?

  • Exercise can reduce your risk of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. All of these conditions can cause cataracts.
  • Exercise reduces intraocular pressure, or the pressure in your eyes, and increases blood flow to the optic nerve and retina. 

3.       Eating Healthily 

“Make sure you eat your carrots. They’re good for your eyes!” You’ve heard that one before, right? Well, there are tons of other foods that can boost your eye health. 

  • Green leafy vegetables. Grab kale, spinach, or collard greens on your next grocery run. These vision protectors are chock-full of antioxidants that block blue light. Harmful blue light, which comes from our ever-present screens, can harm retinal cells. 
  • Eggs. In addition to providing a great meat-less protein source, eggs are also full of zeaxanthin and lutein. These antioxidants can also prevent age-related macular degeneration.
  • Foods with omega-3 fatty acids. Fish like tuna, salmon, and sardines can promote oil production and reduce dry eye[3]. If you don’t like fish, you can also get omega-3 fatty acids from seeds, nuts, or legumes.

4.       Giving Eyes a Break

It feels like everything we do involves screens these days, but it’s critically important to take breaks from those screens for your eye health. If you’re doing any task or chore that involves visual concentration, you should take regular eye breaks.  

Use the 20-20-20 rule:

  • Take a break from your screen every 20 minutes.
  • Focus on a point 20 feet in the distance.
  • Look at this point for at least 20 seconds.

Keep your screen at least an arm’s length away from your eyes and try to reduce glare. You should also blink every few seconds. Touch your top and bottom eyelids together to refresh tears on the surface of your eyes. 

5.       Getting a Healthy Amount of Sleep

You might think the worst part about a bad night’s sleep is having puffy, bloodshot eyes the next day. However, a lack of sleep can also impact your eyesight. As you sleep, the fluids in your eyes circulate and hydrate. This process ensures that your eyes are fresh and ready for the next day. 

When you get a bad night’s sleep, your eyes can suffer. You might experience blurred vision, light sensitivity, dry eyes, or involuntary twitches[4]. The muscles around your eyes need rest. Sleep is needed for eye health.

6.       Practicing Good Eye Hygiene

You might not have a strong eye hygiene routine. The following tips can help you take better care of your eyes:

  • Remove makeup before bed. Leftover makeup can block your oil glands, which prevents them from producing oil and causes inflammation and/or dry eyes.
  • Clean and massage your eyelids. Use a washcloth, warm water, and baby shampoo to gently wash the base of your eyelashes. You can also use pre-moistened eyelid wipes. 
  • Throw away old makeup. Expired makeup can cause irritation or infection. Regularly go through your makeup and toss items that are past their expiration dates. 
  • Clean your contact lenses nightly. Dirty contact lenses can cause infections. Rinse lenses with a sterile saline solution. Use your index finger to rub the lens and remove surface buildup. 

7.       Keeping Eyes Moisturized

Crying isn’t just an emotional release. Tears moisturize your eyes, which helps promote clear vision. Dry eye is a condition that occurs when your eyes are not sufficiently lubricated. Once you turn 50, your tear ducts tend to produce fewer tears and increase your risk of dry eye. 

What can you do to keep your eyes moisturized?

  • If your symptoms are mild, you can use lubricating eye drops or artificial tears to support tear production and make sure the surface of your eyes is moist. You can purchase these items over the counter. 
  • If your symptoms are severe, please see a medical professional. You might need to use topical prescription drops. 
  • Drink more water. Staying hydrated helps keep your eyes lubricated.
  • Take omega-3 fish oil supplements. These supplements can increase eye moisture. 
  • Apply a warm compress to unblock oil glands.
  • Use a humidifier while you sleep at night.

8.       Going to Regular Vision Exams

Get out your appointment book. Is it time to schedule an eye exam? You should get an eye exam every year, which means that these important appointments can easily fall to the wayside if you’re not careful with scheduling. 

Unfortunately, many eye diseases are age-related, including glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy. A simple eye exam can reveal these conditions and get you started on a treatment plan that much faster.

As always, Alert1 wishes you health and safety!



[1] Turbert, David. 2020, Jun. 11. The Sun, UV Light and Your Eyes. American Academy of Ophthalmology. The Sun, UV Light and Your Eyes.

[2] Selin, Jinjin Zheng. 2015, Sep. 27. Long-term physical activity and risk of age-related cataract: a population-based prospective study of male and female cohorts. Journal of Ophthalmology. Long-term physical activity and risk of age-related cataract: a population-based prospective study of male and female cohorts.

[3] Torborg, Liza. 2017, Nov. 7. Mayo Clinic Q and A: Fish oil supplements and dry eyes. May Clinic News Network. Mayo Clinic Q and A: Fish oil supplements and dry eyes.

[4] Delgado, Amanda. 2019, Oct. 1. What Causes Light Sensitivity. What Causes Light Sensitivity.