Easy Ways to Protect Your Eyes at Any Age

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From Health magazine
Been squinting a lot lately? Have to move your newspaper six inches away from your eyes to read it? Vision problems creep up on you as you age. But good habits—not unlike the ones youve already established to protect your heart, bones, and brain—can help keep your eyes healthy. Try these simple tips to safeguard your vision now and for years to come.
Next Page: The 30s [ pagebreak ]The 30s

30s-eyes-shades-200.jpg 30s-eyes-shades-200.jpg around the eyes, says Alice Lyon, MD, director of vitreoretinal service at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and ophthalmologist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Wear sunglasses anytime youre outdoors or driving (keep a spare pair in your car), even if its overcast—UV rays can do harm when its cloudy, too.

Make over your workspace.
Spending hours in front of a computer can cause tired, aching, and dry eyes—and possibly eyestrain headaches, according to the American Optometric Association. Avoid these woes by placing your monitor as far as possible from your eyes, but not so far that you have to squint. Also, look away from the screen periodically to rest your eyes and change focus, and try a low-voltage floor lamp in place of bright overhead lights. An antiglare screen filter (available at most office-supply stores) may help, too.

Look at LASIK.
Your vision stabilizes by your early 30s, making it an ideal time for this surgical fix, says Clyde Kitchen, MD, an ophthalmologist in California and the author of Fact and Fiction of Healthy Vision: Eye Care for Adults and Children. An eye doc should confirm that youre a good candidate. LASIK does pose some risks: dry eyes, especially during the first six months after the procedure, and occasionally a halo effect during the dusk and evening hours. And note that even with the surgery you may need reading glasses in your 40s.
Next Page: The 40s [ pagebreak ]

40s-eyes-exercise-150.jpg 40s-eyes-exercise-150.jpg three times a week and limit sugary treats.

Get checked
The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends a baseline eye-disease screening at age 40 to detect early signs of vision problems like cataracts, which block light from reaching the retina; age-related
macular degeneration (AMD), a disease that causes deterioration of the retina; and glaucoma, optic-nerve damage caused by increased pressure in the eye. A full checkup should also include the usual eye-muscle-movement tests and a retinoscopy to check for astigmatism, nearsightedness, and farsightedness. After the baseline screening, follow up with annual eye exams unless your doctor recommends more frequent checks.
Next Page: The 50s [ pagebreak ]

50s-eyes-greens-150.jpg 50s-eyes-greens-150.jpg , but dont worry—chances are the doctor will prescribe eye drops (such as Restasis) or advise you to use some preservative-free artificial tears (such as Systane Lubricant Eye Drops, avail­able at drugstores) as needed. Omega-3s may help stimulate tear production, too. Try eating more salmon or tuna, or opt for a supplement.