After the age of 40, your eye health begins to change.
It might become more difficult to focus. Although this change may seem abrupt, it is actually something that has been slowly shifting since childhood according to the American Optometric Association. Another eye issue that affects adults is compromised night vision, where it is difficult to see in dark conditions.
What causes night vision problems?
Diminished night vision is usually a normal change caused by age. In fact, according to the Harvard Medical School, by age 40, most people notice a change in their night vision while driving. With advanced age, diminished night vision becomes a safety hazard that may lead to increased falls. Causes of night vision problems due to aging include:
- Smaller and slower pupils
- Cloudier lenses and cataracts — this occurs as the lenses stiffen with age
- Retina changes, such as fewer rods
- Eyes adjust to darkness slower
- Vitamin A deficiency
- Genetic conditions
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Signs of diminished night vision
The most obvious sign of diminished night vision is a decline in the ability to see at night. If you have trouble seeing well at night, you may also experience:
- Blurred vision when reading
- Halos around lights or oncoming traffic
- Sensitivity to light
- Loss of side vision
- Difficulty adapting to dim light
- Trouble driving at night
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How to support night vision health
Although you can’t stop the clock when it comes to aging, you can take several lifestyle steps to support healthy night vision.
Stop smoking. According to the Arizona Retinal Specialists, nicotine interferes with rhodopsin production, a pigment that absorbs light and assists with night vision.
Rest your eyes. Too much screen time can impact night vision. For every 50 minutes of screen time, spend ten minutes away from your screen.
Eat a healthy diet. A diet rich in eye-loving nutrients is essential to maintain healthy eyesight and night vision. Food such as leafy green vegetables (e.g., kale, spinach) may contain the nutrients, lutein, and zeaxanthin, which can support eye heath.** Foods rich in Vitamin A are also important, including carrots and sweet potatoes.
Wear sunglasses. Reducing your exposure to bright sunlight helps your eyes maintain the ability to adapt to changes in brightness.
Do eye exercises. Your eyes benefit from exercise just like the rest of your body. Ask your ophthalmologist about what kind of eye exercises are suitable for you.
Discuss your eye health history with your healthcare practitioner. Someone who knows your history will be able to evaluate your eye health needs.
Consider eye health supplements. If you are not receiving eye-supporting nutrients in your diet, eye health supplements may help.
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Supplements that support eye health
Before taking supplements to support night vision and eye health, it is important to discuss it with your physician. Here are five supplements that help nourish your eyes.**
Lutein helps contrast sensitivity, one of the key factors that contributes to night vision.** Plus, lutein can help the eyes filter out harmful blue light from digital devices.**
Retinol from Vitamin A is used to form rhodopsin, an important part of the retina that provides information about color and visual images.**
Beta carotene is a reddish-orange pigment found in plants and fruits such as carrots and sweet potatoes. In the body, beta carotene is converted into Vitamin A in the liver.
Zeaxanthin is a carotenoid, it gives you the nutritional support you need to support one of your most valuable assets.** Zeaxanthin is present in the macula, the area most responsible for sharp, central vision.
Bilberry contains antioxidants, which help to scavenge free radicals generated by the exposure of the eye lens to light.** Bilberry may also help support night vision.**
Your eyesight is a precious part of your health that needs to be maintained through healthy habits. By eating a nutritious diet, avoiding smoking, and communicating with your physician, you can keep your vision sharp and healthy for years to come.