Diminishing Returns — Ageing Eyes
Some folks find themselves with glasses for the first time at 30, at 50, or even at 65+. Others of us have been wearing them for reading or driving and then all the time since teen years or younger. Some never remember not wearing glasses. Wherever we started, whatever our baseline is, there’s a pretty predominant truth: Our eyesight is going to worsen as we get older.
Age being the blessing that it is, we’re also commonly going to develop some added joys that affect our eyes one way or another.
Happily, there are things we can do to actively protect our eyes and to prevent or offset some of the ravages that strike.
– Eyedrops (increasing sensitivity)
Anytime we’re run down — to include the slowing of bodily functions and repair that comes with age — we tend to become more sensitive to things. Age tends to exacerbate anything we already experience all on its own. That includes our eyes.
Eyedrops can offset the slowing of tear ducts, and they can help reduce discomfort and blurred vision that comes with increasing sensitivities like environmental allergens and the increased responses to anything that already bothers us.
(They’re also handy in every med kit as an eye wash for ash, grit, sawdust, and any chemical we might accidentally encounter, and to help with seasonal allergies that might kick up on a vehicle trip around town or out on foot in backwoods.)
– Clarifying Lenses
No-glare, flash-resistant nighttime and clarifying dawn-dusk lenses both improve our current night vision and prevent blindness when we catch a flash of light, and also lessen the strain on our eyes during those periods, preventing further damage. The best types are just as effective in reducing snow/water blindness and bright-sunlight glare, and make it easier to retain vision as we transfer back and forth between shadows and shade and bright lights.
They’re usually seen as glasses but can be found as the slide-over and clip-on types for any prescription lenses.
Make sure to get the ones specifically for clarifying, not just any ol’ amber or yellow len, although they can help some. The better ones will work wonders for all daytime uses without sacrificing color perception as well as challenging low-light.
– Actually wear goggles for working
As we age and if we’re ill, we’ll heal slowly, and our risk of infection and permanent scarring goes up. It goes up further if a personal or widespread crisis limits our ability to seek medical assistance. Anytime really but especially during a disaster, it’s a bad time to be hindered by some small ash, chaff, or grit that could have easily been avoided.
*We don’t usually need high-impact resistance, even running a saw — just protection from small flying bits. Especially for folks who already wear glasses, splash-guard vented lab goggles are commonly more comfortable and less prone to fog up.
– Rifle scopes and binoculars (as standalone vision helpers, not just for shooting)
They’re handy for bringing the yard closer to us without actually hiking out to see what something is for just about anybody. Especially if we have evolving prescriptions that may not be available, and especially if getting around is harder due to age or illness or injury, the ability to regain and extend vision can be an enormous boost.
Spotting scopes are certainly up there, but unless you have really long distances, the expense commonly isn’t justified. If you do go with a spotting scope, you might as well max the purchase by getting one with a range finder: Depth judgement is one of the things that can be hindered as we age, if one eye is down, in certain light conditions, and while eyes readjust after getting flashed.
– Magnifying glasses or sheets
Both in daily life and during disasters, magnifiers can make life a whole lot easier. Reading, making repairs, sewing, going back and forth between fine print or a small screen and something we’re working on, searching for thorns and removing fish hooks — magnifiers can reduce the constant up-down of glasses, in-out of arms, and putting things down to pick something else up for closer inspection.
They can also limit eye strain — helping to protect our vision — in low-light and fine-print situations even for healthy young souls in normal daily life.
A wide variety are sold for modelers, needlepoint, and other crafts and hobbies, as well as types that lay directly on a page for reading or seeing needlepoint instructions. The types that hang from around the neck or clamp to a surface quickly and easily are among the most common and most convenient for most people, although there’s also some value in the ones that come as dual-lens clip-ons for glasses, goggles, and headlamps.
Go as big as you like for some, but try to get some that are readily portable for daily bags, vehicles, and to have handy by evening chairs and card tables.
– Stay Hydrated
Using a humidifier in dry environments (or when HVACs are running) and drinking sufficient water (6-8 cups+) can also help keep eyes at their best performance, enhancing macular response, limiting systemic inflammation, and improving individual cell performance.
– Manage Other Conditions
Diabetes (due to sugar in bloodstreams), high blood pressure, multiple sclerosis, and other conditions that create rampant and chronic inflammation can readily damage the optical nerve and small blood vessels of the eye.
There’s direct effects from the pressure, and compounding effects from additional damage the body now has to repair and slowing of reactionary cells in the eyes, which can then in turn create even more damaging conditions.
Especially if we’re ill, fighting an injury elsewhere, under stress or not sleeping well (both of which have a whole host of other effects and can further affect illness and injury recovery), or facing slowing systems due to age, the effects on our eyes can end up multiplied, creating lasting damage.
– Get Eye Checkups
The faster we know we have a problem, the more we can limit strain and damage to the eyes, and — like avoiding an overuse injury anywhere else on our bodies — the faster we can heal.
– Have the focal point of glasses checked
If your eye exam says your prescription is okay, but you’re still getting headaches or having a hard time focusing, one culprit may be the amount of blue light from screens (filters are available) but it can also be an issue of our glasses sitting at an angle that just isn’t quite right for us… especially if we’re commonly looking a little bit down instead of straight ahead. Having lenses adjusted lessens strain and the damages from strain.
Our eyes commonly get overlooked when it comes to preparedness.
Sure, most of us have heard to stash some reading glasses (they come in different ‘scripts, so try to snag a variety) and to keep all our old spares just in case, and there’s sometimes talk about how to flush contaminants out of eyes.
Yeah, our eyes are just going to get worse as we get older, but we don’t have to just quietly accept the world going fuzzy. We have a whole host of options, from tools to practices, and in another post, another whole host of vitamins and supplements specifically geared toward our eyes. There’s plenty left to see out there, no matter our age or condition.