This month, September 2022, we will discuss Healthy Aging. What is Healthy Aging? It is an annual event to raise awareness specific to the positive qualities of getting older. The WHO reports that “healthy aging is the process of developing and maintaining the functional ability that enables wellbeing in older age.” It is important to note that functional ability is having the capabilities that allow all people to be and do what they have reason to value. There are approximately 70 million Baby Boomers (aged 58-76 born between 1946-1964) and 65 million Generation X (1965 – 1980) that are growing elder each year and they can benefit from the Health Aging Awareness information. This information supports an ongoing process to leverage opportunities to maintain and improve physical and mental health, independence, and quality of life throughout the aging process of one’s life.
CDC reports, February 2022, that in the United States approximately 12 million people age 40 and above suffer from vision impairment, and about one million suffer from blindness. The World Health Organization reports that there are over 2.2 billion people with eye and vision problems globally. It is known that 1 in 6 Americans, age 65 and older, have a vision impairment that is uncorrectable with glasses or contact lenses. Research has shown that the risk of eye disease increases with age. Many older adults fail to visit an ophthalmologist for eye care. The American Academy of Ophthalmology celebrates Healthy Aging Month by raising awareness about the signs and symptoms of vision loss and providing steps critical for helping seniors take care of their sight.
The National Institute of Health (NIH) Defines Healthy Aging As Identifiable To:
- A specific age
- Being free of long-lasting diseases
- Self-sufficient in activities of daily living
- Good quality of life
- High social participation
- Mild mental or functional loss
- Little or no disability.
Healthy Eating To Enhance And The Benefits
A lack of vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, Vitamin E, Zinc, and Lutein in your diet can increase the risk of age-related vision conditions such as macular degeneration. NIH/NEI recommends the following for healthy vision:
- Eat healthy foods like dark, leafy greens like spinach, kale, and collard greens
- Eat fish like salmon, tuna, and halibut which are high in omega-3 fatty acids
- Be physical. It can also lower your risk of health conditions that can cause eye health or vision problems — like diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
- Stop smoking. It is bad for your lungs, eyes and increases the risk for macular degeneration and cataracts diseases, and harms the optic nerve
- Wear sunglasses that block 99 to 100 percent of both UVA and UVB radiation
- Wear protective eyewear like safety glasses and goggles
- Don’t overwork your eyes. Given them a break every 20 minutes to look at something about 20 feet away for 20 seconds
- Take the appropriate steps to prevent eye infections due to contact lenses
Healthy Lifestyle And The Benefits
Medline Plus believes that the following things can help keep your eyes healthy and make sure you are seeing your best:
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Get regular exercise
- Wear sunglasses
- Wear protective eyewear
- Avoid smoking
- Know your family medical history
- Know your other risk factors
We are always here for you and welcome the opportunity to examine your eyes to make sure there are no issues with your vision health. We look forward to seeing you soon.