What Can You Do Now To Prevent Vision Loss Later?

Vision problems become more common with age. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the incidence of blindness and vision troubles increases drastically by the time adults reach the age of 75. Generally, most younger adults age 19 to 40 have relatively healthy vision, according to the American Optometric Association.

Still, there are steps you can take when you're younger to protect your vision later in life. One of the first things you should do is get your eyes checked regularly. To do this, you'll want to make sure you get a comprehensive dilated eye exam (via CDC). This is the only test that will allow an eye care professional to see if you have early traces of any eye diseases. This is important because many eye disease such as glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, and diabetic eye disease, typically don't have warning signs — an exam is the only way to detect these problems at an early stage. The test will also tell you if you need glasses or contact lenses to help you see more clearly.

Lifestyle behaviors to protect your eyes

There are a number of lifestyle behaviors that can help prevent vision loss. These include protecting your eyes from the harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun, which can damage eyes over time (via American Optometric Association). Make sure to wear sunglasses with UV-A and UV-B protection. You should also wear sunscreen around your eyes and wear a hat or visor for additional protection.

Your eyes also need protection from the short-wavelength light emitted from most digital devices and newer LED and fluorescent lights. Continuous exposure to these wavelengths can slowly damage the retina, leading to vision problems later in life. Special glasses are available to block these wavelengths while using devices.

Finally, eating a well-balanced diet and getting regular exercise goes a long way in improving overall health, including eye health. Additionally, if you smoke, quit, and if you don't smoke, don't start. Smoking cigarettes exposes your eyes to noxious chemicals and increases the risk of vision issues such as age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.