Eye health in your 40s and beyond is paramount. There are so many changes that happen internally and externally when we reach midlife, that sometimes we miss things that are glaringly (pardon the pun) obvious. Noticing small changes to the eyes for example.
As we enter the midlife and menopausal phase of our life estrogen levels fluctuate. This causes dryness; not only in our nether regions but also in our eyes. Both of which can feel horribly uncomfortable.
You may have noticed that your eyes feel a bit dry and scratchy. Your contact lenses may have become irritable to wear. Tear production slows down after menopause but there are some great drops available to help relieve this sensation so you don’t have to suffer.
As we get older we need to be aware of certain eye conditions that are more prevalent in midlife and beyond. Knowing that these conditions exist and staying on top of your eye health may help enhance the quality of your life.
If you are already through the menopause and out the other side, you may have found that your vision has declined to some degree. The risk of glaucoma and cataracts increases after the age of 40 and this is worsened with diabetes and high blood pressure. If you don’t have regular eye examinations, then now is the time to book your appointment.
On the discovery recently that I had suspect glaucoma, I set out to find out more about this condition. In the USA it is one of the major causes of blindness and many people do not even realise they have it. It is common in the early stages to have no symptoms (as in my case). If undiscovered for a long period of time, vision and sight is already affected. If there is history of glaucoma within your family, then make sure you let your GP and eye care specialist know.
Smoking affects Your Eyes
Smoking isn’t a wise choice if you want to enjoy good health. If you smoke, then now would be a great time to think about stopping. Smoking causes your eyes to have excessive exposure to oxidative stress and may increase your risk of developing age-related macular degeneration.
Presbyopia is very common in the 40s and beyond. This is when you may find yourself holding your book as far away from you as possible, and you may need reading glasses. Of course eye surgery is available to correct this condition if you wanted to. There are even bifocal daily contact lenses. I absolutely love mine as they have made a huge difference to my life.
One of the first things I noticed on entering menopause was that my vision felt quite impaired when driving at night. This should not have been a surprise really as our pupils dilate less in the dark as we get older.
Taking care of eye health is just as important as taking care of the mind, body and spirit. Vision is how we view the world and everything in it. There is a condition called age-related macular degeneration and much vision loss is attributed to this in adults over 55.
Take time Away from Devices
Our eye health is further compromised with the amount of time we spend in front of computer and phone screens. You may have noticed that your eyes feel really tired after time spent in front of your devices.
So what can you do to protect your eyes? Ensure you are eating a healthy balanced diet rich in omega 3 fatty acids and antioxidants. Include plenty of fish, organic foods, and leafy greens. Unfortunately this may not actually be enough. Two nutrients that are excellent for eye health are lutein and zeaxanthin and you will find these in a good quality eye supplement.
Exercise also has benefits to the eyes as well as to the body. With improved circulation there is more oxygen to the eyes.
Protect Your Eyes from the Sun
Many people don’t realise that it is possible to get eye cancer from not wearing sunglasses in the sun. Don’t buy sunglasses only for the look good designer factor. Make sure they are good quality and that they are guaranteed to block UV (ultraviolet) rays which are very harmful.
A big wide brimmed sunhat can not only look chic and fashionable, it also has the added advantage of shielding your eyes from the sun.
Take regular breaks from Computer Screens
Make sure you that you take regular 15 breaks away from computer screens. Look away and focus on something else for a little while. You have thousands of tiny little eye muscles all focusing hard on the screen. They need a rest too. It is helpful to place your computer screen within 20″-24″ within your eyesight. Minimize the computer glare and blink often, your eye health will thank you.
Kindles and E-readers
The advantage of these is that you are able to adjust the font size to suit your eyesight. You can go as big as you want! No more struggling with tiny words in a book, or a magnifying glass.
Midlife and beyond doesn’t have to be about wearing ugly glasses and attach them around your neck. There are some gorgeous glasses available that enhance your features and look great. Just as your body will be showing signs of wear and tear in your 40s and beyond, so will your eyes.
Schedule Your Eye Health Appointments
Don’t put off addressing eye health problems or eye sight correction due to vanity. Walking around and not being able to see properly, or to juggle with two pairs of glasses isn’t easy. There are so many solutions available to help you. Booking your eye appointment and having the correct prescription to enable you to see properly is a real eye opener. The initial discomfort will be well worth it when you can see clearly and well.
If you have arrived at midlife and beyond and looking for guidance and support, then take a look at the other blogs on the site, and how Flourish Beyond 40 can help you with many aspects of midlife, menopause and beyond.