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Your eyesight is one of the most important things you need to protect and maintain in order to sustain your quality of life. It is common that as you age, eye problems and vision loss become apparent because of one reason or another.

In most cases, some life-threatening eye problem affects 1 in every 6 adults aged 50 and above. In fact, a recent report by the American Academy of Ophthalmology estimated that over 43 million Americans will develop age-related eye diseases by the year 2020.

However, because the leading causes of low vision and blindness in the U.S. are primarily age-related diseases like cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy, preserving your vision with the following vital tips will keep you on the safe side.

The first step to preserving your eyesight as you age is finding out whether you are at a higher risk of contracting some eye disease. A visit to a professional ophthalmologist for regular eye check-ups will help diagnose any risks you are pre-disposed to, and with the right precautionary treatment, help limit your vision loss and preserve your eyesight.

Be aware of any warning signs of changes in your vision If you start noticing some weird changes in your vision such as hazy vision, double vision, and difficulty seeing in low light conditions, immediately consult your eye doctor. If you also experience some potentially serious eye problems such as red eyes, floaters, eye pains, swelling, and frequent flashes of light, see your ophthalmologist immediately.

Wear sunglasses to avoid harmful UV rays Too much exposure of your eyes to UV rays increases your chances of contracting cataracts and macular degeneration. But with the right pair of sunglasses, you can protect your eyes against the harmful rays and help preserve your vision as you age. If you wear contact lenses, you can get those that offer UV protection. And even so, it’s still wise to wear sunglasses for an extra layer of protection.

Eat a healthy and balanced diet Studies have shown that healthy balanced diets play an important role in preserving your eyesight over time. Eating fish rich in omega 3 fatty acids reduces your risk of contracting macular degeneration. A diet rich in antioxidants such as fruits and dark green vegetables helps reduce the risk of cataracts.  Other nutrients like zinc, lutein, and vitamins C and E also help greatly in avoiding the two diseases. Eating healthy also lowers the risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes; the leading cause of blindness in adults.

Quit smoking now There are very many dangers of smoking. And when it comes to eye health, it’s no different. Smokers are at a higher risk of developing age-related cataracts, macular degeneration, damage to your optic nerve, uveitis and other eye problems. All in all, remember that your eye is a delicate body part! Only have professionals like Southwestern Eye Center examine and treat them to avoid injuries or poor treatment.