“Eye health needs to be a priority for Maine residents as adults enter their 40’s,” noted Ophthalmologist Jordan Sterrer, M.D. of Eyecare Medical Group in Portland, Maine. “As we enter our 40’s and beyond, middle age is a time when symptoms of many eye diseases may begin to emerge and when other diseases can develop without any symptoms at all. It is crucial for adults even without symptoms or known risk factors for eye disease to get a baseline eye examination at 40 for early detection, diagnosis and treatment of eye problems, conditions & diseases,” said Dr. Sterrer. Starting early will help to preserve eye health and vision. Some things to consider as we enter our 40’s:
Eye Health & Exercise
Our eyes need good blood circulation and oxygen intake, and both are stimulated by regular exercise. Regular exercise also helps keep our weight in the normal range, which reduces the risk of diabetes and diabetic retinopathy. Remember to use sun safety and protective eyewear when enjoying sports and recreation.
Eye Health & Smoking
Avoiding smoking, or quitting, is one of the best investments you can make in your long-term overall and eye health. Even though as you enter your 40’s old age seems a long way off, smoking can increase your risks for cataracts and macular degeneration (AMD) as well as for cardiovascular diseases that indirectly influence our eyes’ health. Smoking increases the risk of severe vision loss for people with other eye diseases, such as glaucoma, as well.
Eye Health & Sleep
As we sleep, our eyes enjoy continuous lubrication. Also during sleep the eyes clear out irritants such as dust, allergens, or smoke that may have accumulated during the day. Some research suggests that light-sensitive cells in the eye are important to our ability to regulate our wake-sleep cycles. This becomes more crucial as we age, when more people have problems with insomnia. While it's important that we protect our eyes from over-exposure to UV light, our eyes also need exposure to some natural light every day to help maintain normal sleep-wake cycles.
Eye Health & Systemic Health Problems
Systemic health problems like high blood pressure and diabetes that may be diagnosed or become more problematic in midlife can also affect eye health. One warning sign of both high blood pressure and diabetes is when the ability to see clearly changes frequently. Be sure to keep your eye doctor informed about your health conditions and use of medications and nutritional supplements, as well as your exercise, eating, sleeping and other lifestyle choices.
Eye Health & Dry Eye
This uncomfortable condition becomes more common as people age. Women are more susceptible after menopause due to hormonal changes, but incidence also increases for men as they grow older. It is usually treated with over-the-counter or prescription eye lubricants. If dry eye is severe, surgery to reduce tear drainage may be needed. If you have contact lenses, follow the use guidelines and avoid wearing lenses longer than recommended. If dry eye persists, talk to your eye doctor about possible treatments. Definitely discuss dry eye treatment with your eye doctor if you are thinking about or planning to have LASIK or other refractive surgery. Some medications increase dry eye. If you are taking pain relievers, antidepressants, antihistamines, or have questions about your medications, please bring this to our attention during your eye exam. You may wish to consider following a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA) as it may reduce or help prevent dry eye.
If you or someone you know is entering their 40’s, it is time to schedule regular eye exams to preserve eye health and vision. Please feel free to call Eyecare Medical Group in Portland Maine, visit Eyecare Medical Group or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup.
Eyecare Medical Group is a leading ophthalmology practice in Portland, Maine staffed by a team of eye care specialists including eye doctors who are fellowship trained glaucoma specialists, retina specialists, cornea specialists and cataract and lens implant specialists-all board certified Ophthalmologists-as well as Optometrists, Opticians, technical and administrative staff who provide eye examinations for adults and children, cataract surgery and intraocular lens implants, (IOL), laser vision correction such as LASIK, diagnosis and treatment of cornea disease including cornea transplants, care for diseases of the retina including diabetes and age related macular degeneration and diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma.
Eyecare Medical Group is conveniently located for patients from throughout Maine including Auburn, Augusta, Bangor, Bath, Berwick, Biddeford, Bridgeton, Brunswick, Cape Neddick, Casco Bay, Cumberland Center, Eliot, Freeport, Gardiner, Kennebunk, Kennebunkport, Kittery, Lewiston, Old Orchard Beach, Sanford, Scarborough, South Portland, Springvale, Topsham, Waterville, Westbrook, Winslow, Wiscasset, Yarmouth, Portland, Skowhegan and York Maine.