One in six Americans age 65 and older has a vision impairment that cannot be corrected with glasses or contact lenses. Also, risk of eye disease increases with age, yet many older adults neglect to see an ophthalmologist for care. Here are some facts and tips for seniors age 65 and older about keeping eyes healthy through the years, and why it's crucial that seniors have regular eye exams.

For those who are concerned about the cost of an eye exam, EyeCare America, a public service program of the Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, may be able to help.

Seniors: Healthy Eyes = Happy Lives Why is it important to have an eye exam? By age 65, one in six Americans has a vision impairment that cannot be corrected with glasses or contact lenses. Seniors should get a comprehensive eye exam every one to two years. EyeCare America provides eye care at no out-of-pocket cost to qualifying seniors 65 and older, through more than 6,000 volunteer ophthalmologists nationwide. Visit www.eyecareamerica.org to see if you qualify Early detection and treatment of vision impairment help ensure a better quality of life. vision loss can affect: Gardening, Driving, Reading, Watching TV, Cooking, Crafts, Visiting Friends, Using Technology Tips to keep your vision healthy: Get a baseline eye exam by 40 or older: By age 65, people should see an ophthalmologist every one to two years, or more frequently if recommended. Make healthy food choices: citrus fruits, vegetable oils, nuts, whole grains, dark green leafy vegetables, cold water fish Quit smoking: This is one of the best investments you can make in your long-term health! Exercise: Regular exercise promotes the good blood circulation and oxygen intake our eyes need. Even gentler exercise, such as walking, yoga or stretching, can be effective. Maintain normal blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Wear sunglasses with at least 99% UV protection. Symptoms of vision loss can include: Falling, Squinting or tilting the head when trying to focus, Increase in “dings” on the car, Knocking over objects, Stepping hesitantly, Missing objects when reaching for them, Discontinuing everyday activities such as reading or writing. If you or your loved ones notices these behaviors, visit www.eyecareamerica.org to see if you or they qualify for eye care at no out-of-pocket cost through EyeCare America, the largest public service program of its kind in American medicine. EyeCare American has helped nearly 1.8 million people since its inception in 1985.

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