Eye Protection Tips for Seniors
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Eye Protection Tips for Seniors

Most people experience noticeable vision changes in their early forties. Even those with formerly 20/20 vision may find themselves holding menus, ingredient lists, and recreational reading materials further and further away from their faces. Known as presbyopia, this common vision change is the result of gradual hardening of the eye's lens and the eventual loss of up-close focusing abilities. For most, Presbyopia is a progressive issue that reaches its peak in their mid-60s. For some, this condition is also paired with other vision challenges such as Chronic Dry Eyes, Temporal Arteritis, Cataracts, Glaucoma, and General Macular Degeneration. The good news is that there are many effective ways to proactively protect your eye health during your golden years, and to prevent strain while engaging in your favorite hobbies. Following are six of them.

1. Practice the 20-20-20 Rule

Recognized by the American Academy of Ophthalmology as an effective preventive measure against eye strain, the 20-20-20 rule is all about giving your eyes a break from up-close focusing. To practice it, simply avert your eyes from the task at hand by focusing for at least 20 seconds on an object that's approximately 20 feet away. To optimize the benefits of this technique, try to do it at least once every 20 minutes. Fortunately, your measurements don't have to be exact. If you look away from your preferred activity once every 15 to 30 minutes to look at something that's 18 feet away for approximately 19 seconds, you should be in the clear. In short, you don't have to get your tape measure or timer out. Whether you're building your own fishing lures, crocheting a blanket for a new family addition, beading, or using your mobile phone, the 20-20-20 rule can help you beat eye fatigue.

2. Use Adaptable Lighting

Having enough light to engage in focused activities is important. Attempting to thread a needle in the dark is by no means good for your eyes. Task lighting such as desk lamps, floor lamps, and under-counter lamps are all great options in task lighting. However, one of the best ways to prevent eye strain is by having adaptable lighting that lets you dim the brightness in your space. This is especially true when you're using digital devices, working near a window or a reflective surface, or sitting directly under bright, overhead lights in addition to your task lighting. Although having enough lighting is a good thing, it's important to strike a balance so that you never have too much. Dim the brightness on your mobile phone or tablet, pull your blinds closed, and invest in bulbs with a lower wattage and softer glow. Whenever sitting down to engage in a focused activity, make sure that your overall level of illumination is just right.

3. Get Blue Light Glasses

Avid gamers come in every age. Whether you like slicing fruit with a ninja's blade on your mobile phone, playing digital sudoku, or solving crossword puzzles, it's important to be mindful of how much screen time you're getting and how this screen time is affecting your eyes. In addition to choosing a moderate brightness setting on your device, invest in a pair of blue light glasses. These glasses are specially designed to help consumers avoid the uncomfortable side effects of staring at screens for too long. They do so by blocking a potentially retina-damaging wavelength known as blue light. Wearing your glasses during device use and while binge-watching your favorite TV shows can result in:

  • Deeper and most restful sleep
  • Less eye strain
  • Fewer headaches
  • Reduced risk of chronic eye disease

4. Take Advantage of Large Print Publications or Invest in an E-Reader

Reading doesn't have to cause eye strain. There are plenty of publishers who offer their best sellers in large print for both older people and those with general vision challenges. There are also e-readers that allow users to choose their font sizes. If you want to curl up with a good book but are tired of squinting over fine print, you can search for lists of top-rated large print book suppliers. You can also invest in a digital reader with clear presentation, limited blue light, and an adjustable font. If you're looking for easy reading for free, ask the librarian at your Lakeland, Bartow, Auburndale, Haines City or Winter Haven Public Library to point out their selection of large print books.

5. Wear Shades When Going Out

Eye strain prevention starts with diligent eye protection. Many older people are great about putting on their sunblock and wearing hats when going out. However, the eyes need reliable sun protection too. Wearing sun shades prevents eye damage from the sun's UV rays and limits both the risk and the progression of chronic, age-related eye diseases. Before stepping out into the bright Auburndale sunshine, remember to put your sunglasses on.

6. Lubricate Your Eyes

Keep your eyes-well lubricated, especially if you suffer from chronically dry eyes. Dry eyes are more likely to become strained during focused, up-close tasks than are eyes that are moist. Dry eyes are recognized as a symptom of excess screen time, but they can also be the result of dehydration, allergies, or an overly warm and arid environment. For instance, many residents from Lakeland, Bartow, Auburndale, Haines City and Winter Haven use their air conditioners all of the time. The aggressive humidity regulation of modern air conditioners can leave the interior of Florida homes surprisingly low in moisture. You can try using artificial tears, limiting your screen time, drinking more water, or investing in a humidifier as needed.

Get Help From Senior Helpers of Polk County

Time and age-related vision changes don't have to keep you from engaging in your favorite hobbies and activities. Instead, they can serve as a reminder to proactively protect your vision. When eye strain and other challenges make it increasingly difficult to complete essential tasks, Senior Helpers of Polk County has got you covered.  With our personal care and companion care services in Lakeland, Bartow, Auburndale, Haines City and Winter Haven, you can continue enjoying an optimal quality of life regardless of which age-related challenges come your way! Contact us today to find out more about our complete range of services.