Over 60? Keep an eye out for common vision problems

As we age, we come to appreciate the simpler things in life whether it’s playing with grandkids, taking up a hobby or finding more time for a good book. Whatever activity brings you joy, don’t let the loss of vision affect your independence.

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the most common cause of poor vision in Canadians over the age of 60 and one of the leading causes of vision loss. While peripheral vision is usually unaffected, people with AMD lose the sharp, straight-ahead vision used for driving, reading, recognizing faces, and looking at detail. Though AMD doesn’t always lead to complete blindness, it can sometimes significantly impair simple daily activities. Over time, the areas of vision loss may grow larger or denser or you may develop blank spots in your central vision.

If detected at an early stage, there are treatments that can decrease AMD’s rate of progression. You can take steps to prevent or reduce vision loss with these tips from the Canadian Ophthalmological Society:

  • Get regular comprehensive medical eye exams. People over age 65 should get an exam at least once every two years.
  • Quit smoking. Smokers are twice as likely to develop AMD compared with a non-smoker.
  • Know your family’s eye health history. Before you go in for your next eye exam, speak with your family about their eye health history, as it may prompt your ophthalmologist to recommend more frequent eye exams.
  • Eat well. Studies show that people who have a reduced risk of AMD have diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon and walnuts, and omega-3 enriched foods like yogurt and eggs.
  • Stay active. It’s important to maintain regular exercise to not only keep a healthy weight, but also reduce the risk of developing AMD.

Leading an active, healthy lifestyle and getting regular eye exams are important to saving your long-term vision, especially after age 60. Speak to your eye doctor about your eye health and the steps you should take to ensure healthy eyesight for years to come.

Learn more at cos-sco.ca.