How to Keep Your Eyes Healthy After 50

By on October 14, 2021

It’s no secret that our bodies change as we get older, and while we can’t turn back time, we can do our best to take care of ourselves. Healthy aging is all about protection, prevention, and proper treatment—it’s why we try to eat right, stay active, and practice self-care. And like any other part of our body, our eyes age as well. But, did you know there are ways to mitigate the symptoms of aging in your eyes? In honor of World Sight Day (October 14th), try these tips to keep your eyes as healthy as possible after 50 and maintain the best eyesight possible.

Take breaks from your computer screen

Nowadays, we spend lots of time in front of screens and unfortunately, this can put extra stress on our eyes. When you focus on something close to your face, like your computer screen or your cell phone, your eyes turn inwards slightly from their natural resting position. To give your eyes a break and reduce eye strain, follow the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break to focus on something at least 20 feet away. This allows the eyes to return to a state of rest.

Excessive screen time can also mean overexposure to harmful blue light, which can affect your tear film and contribute to free radical damage of your macular cells. These are all crucial components of your eye’s ability to see clearly, so it is important to protect them as much as possible. You can also upgrade your everyday pair of glasses with lenses that block both blue light and UV sunlight, like Crizal Prevencia lenses by Essilor, which have been awarded the Skin Cancer Foundation Seal of Recommendation.

natural sunscreen with zinc oxide

Visit your eye doctor every year

 we use our vision every day, it can be easy to ignore the small changes in our eyes—but it doesn’t mean they aren’t happening. That’s why it’s important to visit your eye care provider every year to ensure your prescription is up-to-date, especially as you approach 50. Typically, around age 40, your eyes lose the ability to focus on objects about 1-2 feet in front of you. This is called presbyopia, or farsightedness due to aging. It’s why you may have noticed yourself stretching your arm to see your phone or menu clearly.

If you’ve been living with this issue, you’re not alone! Presbyopia will impact the 139 million Americans over the age of 45—but only 81 million are currently treating it with the eyewear they need. Paying a visit to your eye doctor will help you assess whether you are suffering from presbyopia and what solution may be best for you.

Ask your doctor about your progressive lens options

Many people with presbyopia try to get by with reading glasses, but these aren’t an ideal solution. Reading glasses only provide clear vision at one specific distance, and in modern life, we need to focus on everything ranging from cell phones (held about 13” away from you) to laptop screens (about 25”). Instead, a commonly prescribed option is progressive lenses, which layer many different levels of prescription to restore natural vision for near, middle, and far distances—all in one pair of glasses.

However, not all progressives are created equal, and there are about 300 different designs. Inferior progressive lenses can cause dizziness, nausea, and headaches, as well as an unbalanced feeling when going down the stairs, so it’s important to talk to your doctor about which ones may be right for you.

If you’re new to progressives, ask your doctor about Varilux progressive lenses. Most eye care professionals say Varilux lenses allow patients to adapt to the lens more quickly (77%) and it’s the best for those new to presbyopia (75%).[1] Plus, Varilux lenses virtually eliminate the off-balance feeling many experiences with other progressives, thanks to Nanoptix Technology®, which combines a patented lens shape with a unique optical design to minimize magnification and distortion.

eyesVarilux lenses are also a great option if you already wear progressives but are unsatisfied with your current lenses—they have a 96% patient satisfaction rating and are the most prescribed brand of progressive lenses by optometrists and opticians.[2]

Wear sunglasses

The sun’s UV rays are not only damaging to our skin, but also to our eyes—overexposure can increase the likelihood of cataracts and macular degeneration. So, it’s important to wear sunglasses whenever you go outside, even on a cloudy day. Look for a pair that blocks 100% of UVA and UVB rays and if you’re concerned about glare while driving or on the water, opt for a pair of polarized lenses.

Plus, you can even get prescription sunglasses—Varilux progressive lenses can be paired with an Xperio UV polarized sun lens to help protect your vision and help you see outside.

Our eyes help us fully interact with the world around us, so it’s important to keep them as healthy as possible. Taking steps to protect our eyes and make sure we have the most up-to-date prescription will help preserve our vision for the next 50 years to come.

[1] Survey conducted in 2018 by an independent third party. Sponsored by Essilor. Results were reported by independent opticians and optometrists.

[2] Survey conducted in 2018 by an independent third party. Sponsored by Essilor. Results were reported by independent opticians and optometrists.

Author: Dr. Millicent Knight, OD, FAAO, FAARM, FNAP

Dr. Millicent Knight is Senior Vice President, Customer Development Group at Essilor of America, with a diverse and extensive background in the eyecare industry, including hospital-based ophthalmology/optometry with hospital privileges, owner of two optometric practices, and a former member of Vision Source. She has published numerous articles and can advise consumers on how to best protect and preserve their eye health. Dr. Knight has also received wide-ranging industry and academic recognition including “Optometrist of the Year” by both the National and Illinois Optometric Associations, Vision Monday’s Most Influential Women in Optical, a Women in Optometry Theia Award for Leadership, National Association of Corporate Optometrists Leadership award, and Optical Women’s Association’s 2020 Pleaides Award.  

Dr. Knight holds a Doctor of Optometry degree and two Bachelor of Science degrees. She is a Fellow in the American Academy of Optometry, the American Academy of Anti-Aging Regenerative Medicine, The National Academies of Practice, a Kellogg Leadership Fellow, and is a Certified Health Coach.

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How to Keep Your Eyes Healthy After 50