No matter how we try to fight it – or deny it! – we keep taking more trips around the sun! Aging is a fact of life that we just cannot put the brakes on. However, as the great philosopher, Jimmy Buffett, once said, “I’m growing older, but not up.”
We of the Baby Boomer Generation do not want to age gracefully. We want to slide headfirst into home plate in a cloud of dust with the Great Umpire calling “Safe!” Unfortunately, our bodies may not always go along with our mind’s best intentions.
Medical science has provided us with the ability to outlive our body’s usefulness. We don’t come with an unlimited warranty on parts. Things start changing long before we are ready for them to. Knees. Hips. Ears. And, naturally, eyes.
The most common age-related medical eye conditions include dry eye, cataract and macular degeneration. As we’ve discussed before, many conditions are manageable if they are caught early. Of course, the best way to do that is with a good, comprehensive eye health exam. Every year. Especially after 50.
Did you know that over 40 million Americans are 65 or older? And that, by the year 2050, that number is expected to grow to over 88 million? So, it’s important for us all to help raise awareness about age-related eye conditions. Neighbors helping neighbors, so to speak. You don’t have to be a member of the eye care industry to pass along the information! We’re happy to share!
Keep in mind that the only things in life that are guaranteed are death and taxes… at least according to Benjamin Franklin. What this means in terms of aging eyes is this: Vision loss is not an inevitability!
Some of the common sense rules of healthy living also translate to keeping your eyes healthy. First and foremost, if you still smoke… STOP! We all know about the lung-related problems that smoking can cause – cancer and emphysema being right at the top. Smoking has also been linked to heart disease. What is not widely known is that smoking can increase your probability of developing macular degeneration. Smokers are three to four times more likely to develop age-related macular degeneration than non-smokers!
Tobacco use can also contribute to your risk of acquiring cataracts earlier and it’s a strong contributor to dry eye syndrome.
Besides not smoking, healthy habits include:
*Diets containing recommended portions of green, leafy vegetables and fruits and vegetables high in beta carotene and foods rich in vitamin C, E and Omega fatty acids.
*Controlling your blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
*Wearing sunglasses with UV 400 protection – even if the day is overcast.
*Enjoying life! (Just threw that in for good measure.)
Naturally, seeing Dr Kay or Dr Deweese annually for a comprehensive eye health exam is a must!
The upside to following these rules is that you’ll not only see better, you’ll feel better while you’re looking at all that life has to offer.
Not acting your age can be pretty beneficial, too. It’s easy! You’ve never been this age before, so simply choose an age that you have been – and that you enjoyed – and start acting that way again! It’s all about mind over matter.
As the final line in Jimmy’s refrain says: “I’d rather die while I’m living than live while I’m dead”!