October is Home Eye Safety Month. That may seem peculiar to some but paying attention to eye safety is one of the most important ways to keep seniors healthy, safe, and fall free. A month that focuses on eye safety provides an opportunity to discuss all the things that contribute to eye health; nutrition, exercise, vitamins, and eliminating smoking.
First and foremost, there are many things to specifically avoid for the sake of good eye health.
- Obviously, no smoking! Smoking can irritate the eyes, exposing them to “oxidative stress”. Smoking increases the risk of developing a variety of conditions related to eye health.
- Staring at the computer screen for too long can affect the eyes negatively. Two hours of looking at a computer screen can give the eyes the same kind of repetitive stress as given to the wrists after typing for too long. Take a break every 15 minutes to minimize the impact. Reduce the brightness of the screen, if possible. It’s good to blink a lot, too.
Choosing foods rich in antioxidants such as leafy green vegetables and fish will help keep the eyes healthy.
- Omega-3 fatty acids are essential to good eye health. Specifically, Omega-3 is important to the health of the macula, which is the part of the eye responsible for central vision.
- In contrast, an inadequate consumption of antioxidants, combined with too much alcohol and saturated fats, may cause reactions which harm the macula.
- High-fat diets will also restrict blood vessels, particularly in the eyes which are dependent on tiny blood vessels that feed them.
Wearing sunglasses in old age is very important.
- UV rays from the sun can be harmful, and while sun on the skin may feel wonderful, that sunny day can be damaging the eyes.
- The right sunglasses will block UV rays and protect the eyes.
Exercise is good for the eyes, just as it is for the rest of the body. With regular movement, the blood gets flowing, improving circulation. With improved blood circulation, oxygen levels are improved as well as the removal of toxins. This in turn can improve the eyes, which are fed by many tiny blood vessels.
If the senior participates in hobbies like gardening, home repair, woodworking or any other hobby that may create small shards, splinters and dust, provide them with safety eyewear. Impress upon them the importance of eye safety, and the major impact that an eye injury would have on their daily life.
Seniors need to get moving, to get blood flowing and oxygen pumping through the lungs, heart and yes, the eyes. Don’t stare at the computer for too long, and wear sunglasses when the sun is high and bright. There’s a lot a senior can do at home to make sure their eyes are the best they can be. Healthy eyes help to see life clearly and enjoy the best life has to offer.