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Reston   (703) 485-2148 Leesburg   (703) 777-1244

Why Seniors Should Spend More Time Outside

Blog-ImageWhether you’re just beginning your retirement or are well into your golden years, you know that taking care of your eye health is an important part of everyday life. After all, the clearer and healthier your vision, the more likely it is you’ll be able to continue to enjoy the activities you love. That’s why you eat a healthy diet and schedule regular appointments with your ophthalmologist.

Research has recently suggested adding a new element to your healthy eye regimen – getting as much natural light as possible. 

In a study conducted by the University of Kansas School of Medicine, researchers discovered that greater exposure to part of the natural light spectrum – called blue light – is essential for decreasing the risk of cataracts.  This blue light is also essential for regulating a person’s sleep cycle.  When people aren’t exposed to enough of this blue light, a number of sleep disorders can occur, including insomnia.

This “blue light syndrome” is a phenomenon common during the winter, when most people’s exposure to sunlight is limited, particularly in northern areas. As a result, our bodies’ natural rhythms are thrown off, leading to more than just sleep problems. This can lead to mood disorders, known as the “Winter blues,” as well as low energy, severe depression, and even heart problems.

Unfortunately, seniors are among the individuals most at risk for not getting enough natural light.

To ensure that you’re getting enough exposure to this essential blue light, consider incorporating the following habits into your day-to-day routine:

  • Go outside for at least an hour each day. Take your dog for a walk, garden, or just go for a stroll outside to soak up the light you need.  Be sure to protect your skin by wearing sunscreen; additionally, wear a hat on sunny days to provide shade for your eyes.
  • Let the natural light into your home. Hang light, gauzy curtains in various rooms of your house, as this ensures that enough sunlight can enter your home.
  • Take up outdoor hobbies and activities. From hiking and kayaking to golfing and gardening, there are hundreds of hobbies that can help you exercise, relax, and enjoy the vision-boosting benefits that come hand-in-hand with spending time in the sunlight.

In addition to these habits, ensure that you continue to make regular appointments with your ophthalmologist.  For expert care, schedule an appointment with Dr. Jacqueline Griffiths at NewView Eye Center in Reston, Virginia.  NewView Eye Center serves the greater Washington, DC metro area. Call 703-834-9777 today!