A recently published study in the medical journal Neurology suggests that the changes noted in the blood vessels in our eyes at age 60 are indicative of future memory loss. This study is important for a couple of reasons. It helps us to understand the importance of regular eye exams for senior citizens. It also could give doctors another way to detect the potential for memory loss early so that prevention and treatment measures are implemented sooner.

The Link Between Eye Health and Cognitive Health

The study included more than 12,000 men and women age 57 and older. They were tested for memory and thinking skills. Three years later, images of their retinas were captured. Six years later, a second round of tests was conducted. Twenty years later, the participants underwent a third round of testing.  The study found that participants with moderate to severe damage to the retinal blood vessels typically scored lower on memory tests.

Retinal Health and Systematic Diseases

The idea that retinal health is linked to systematic health throughout the body is not a new one. Researchers have long understood that regular eye exams can give indications that a person is at risk for diabetes, high cholesterol or heart disease. Blurry vision, hemorrhaging and leaking of the eyes are all often discovered during a routine eye exam. Any of these things can give an optometrist reason to refer their patient to a medical doctor for further evaluation.

Ways to Keep the Eyes Healthy

While eye health is not necessarily the cause of systematic diseases, keeping the eyes healthy is an important component in maintaining independence and promoting longevity. Seniors can follow several steps to preserve the overall health of their eyes. Family members and professional caregivers are encouraged to support seniors in this effort.

Steps to Help You Maintain Healthy Eyes

  • Understanding Family History of Eye Disease and Keeping Doctors Informed About It
  • Avoiding Smoking
  • Wearing Protective Eyewear in the Sun
  • Maintaining a Healthy Weight
  • Give Your Eyes Rest Time from Technology
  • Consume Foods Rich in Lutein, Omega-3s and Zinc Like Green, Leafy Vegetables and Low-Fat Dairy
  • Maintain a Healthy Exercise Schedule

Aging and Monitoring Eye Health

It is never too early to start taking care of your eyes, but following healthy eye care tips is especially important as we age. The eyes not only help us to see and maintain independence, but they are a strong indicator of both systematic and cognitive health and potential concerns that are best addressed sooner rather than later. Encourage your aging loved ones to follow healthy living tips and preserve their eye health. If you notice a problem, see a, optometrist or medical doctor for diagnosis and care as soon as possible. The sooner help is made available, the better the chances for a positive outcome.

Salus Homecare Los Angeles supports seniors who want to continue living independent, healthy lives. If your loved one is having difficulty preparing meals, finding transportation to medical appointments or remembering to take essential medications, our professional caregivers are always here to help. Call us anytime to schedule your complimentary, no obligation evaluation.

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