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Seeing Clearly As We Age: September is Healthy Aging Month

Regular eye care checkups are crucial to prevent age-related vision issues. September recognizes Healthy Aging Month, and an opportunity to talk about the importance of maintaining good eye health with comprehensive eye care.

“Healthy Aging Month serves as a reminder that vision is one of our most precious and vital senses,” said Tracy Lukasiewicz, O.D., an optometrist with Desert Vista Eyecare Specialists in Phoenix, Arizona. “Like the rest of our health, our eyes age and change with time. We often take our eyes for granted because our bodies do an excellent job of caring for them until an issue arises.”

To ensure healthy vision as we age, Dr. Lukasiewicz reminds us, “Be sure to prioritize your eye health with regular eye exams so that we can help you maximize your vision for the future.” 

The Aging Eye 

Aging can affect our eyes in various ways. EyeCare Partners’ practices are designed to help patients maintain optimal vision throughout their lives by offering a comprehensive range of eye care services, from optometry to ophthalmology, to address these conditions and more that can impact your vision as you age: 

  • Presbyopia: This natural aging process gradually reduces the eye’s ability to focus on nearby objects, typically beginning around age 40 and making tasks like reading more challenging. 
  • Cataracts: Cataracts occur when the eye’s natural lens becomes cloudy, leading to blurred vision. While common in older adults, cataracts can be surgically removed to restore clear vision, often improving it beyond what it was before. 
  • Glaucoma: Known as the “silent thief of sight,” glaucoma can damage the optic nerve without noticeable symptoms until it reaches advanced stages. Regular eye exams are vital for early detection and management. 
  • Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD): AMD is a leading cause of vision loss in older adults, affecting the macula, the central part of the retina. Early diagnosis and treatment can slow its progression. 

 Steps for Healthy Aging Eyes 

Irina Andrushenko, O.D., an optometrist at Desert Vista Eye Specialists, shared that her 90-year-old father, who has thrived after cataract surgery, remains active through exercise and a healthy diet. She suggests adding supplements containing Lutein, Zeaxanthin, and other vitamins, including the AREDS2 formula blend of nutrients, to support both eye and overall health. “Vision is a precious gift,” she emphasizes, while urging patients to follow these steps for maintaining healthy aging eyes: 

  • Regular Eye Exams: Schedule comprehensive eye exams with an eye care specialist, such as an optometrist or ophthalmologist. These professionals can detect eye conditions early, even before symptoms arise. 
  • Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle: Adopt a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals and engage in regular exercise to promote good eye health. 
  • Protect Your Eyes: Safeguard your eyes from harmful UV rays by wearing sunglasses when outdoors. In hazardous environments, use safety goggles to prevent injuries. 
  • Quit Smoking: Smoking significantly increases the risk of various eye conditions. Quitting can reduce the likelihood of developing them. 
  • Manage Chronic Conditions: If you have conditions like diabetes or hypertension, consult with your healthcare provider to control them. These conditions can affect your eye health, underscoring the importance of regular comprehensive eye exams in preserving your sight. 
  • Stay Informed: Educate yourself about age-related eye conditions and their warning signs. Being aware that intervening early can help alleviate potential issues. 

As we acknowledge Healthy Aging Month this September, remember the importance of preserving your vision as you age. Proactive measures, such as regular eye exams and a healthy lifestyle, can help our eyes age gracefully, allowing us to see the world with clarity and vitality throughout our lives. 

Desert Vista Eyecare Specialists is a partner practice of EyeCare Partners.