Vision Health for Millennials

Although eye problems can feel like a long way off, take simple steps today to protect your vision for the future.

Vision problems develop most often in older people, so if you’re a millennial aged 25 to 35, eye trouble can seem like a long way off. But it may be closer than you think. In 2015, more than 12 million Americans over 40 had vision and eye problems, a number projected to double by 2050. Many millennials will find themselves included in that statistic. 1

Whether you’re looking forward to the view from the corner office or setting your sights on the Eiffel Tower, take simple steps now to protect your vision for the future.

woman looking through binoculars

  • Give your eyes a rest. Phones, television, computers – screens are all around us, all day long. Practice the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and look at something 20 feet in front of you.
  • Protect your eyes – at work and at play. Wear protective eyewear that blocks 99-100% of ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation when playing sports or doing activities outside such as yard work. Also protect your eyes from injury when doing work around the home, such as home repairs. To make sure you have the right kind of protective eyewear and you’re using it correctly, talk with your eye doctor.
  • Eat right to protect your sight. Eat plenty of dark, leafy greens such as spinach, kale, or collard greens and fish that is high in omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, albacore tuna, trout, and halibut.
  • Quit smoking or never start.
  • Use contact lenses safely. Wash your hands before handling your contacts and keep them clean to avoid infection.
  • Get plenty of physical activity to boost your mood, reduce stress, and help you stay at a healthy weight. This can prevent the development of chronic conditions like type 2 diabetes, which can lead to diabetic eye diseases and vision loss.
  • Know your family’s eye health history. It’s important to know if your parents, grandparents, or others in your family have been diagnosed with an eye disease or condition, since some are hereditary.
  • Get eye exams as recommended by your eye doctor.

Vision Health is Part of Overall Health

Vision for the Future

CDC’s Vision Health Initiative and the National Eye Instituteexternal icon have partnered to make vision a health priority for the millennial generation. Taking simple steps today can protect your eyes for decades to come.

Father with two children, wearing glasses

Take care of your eyes now to see clearly into the future.

You probably go to your doctor every year for a physical and schedule regular cleanings at your dentist. But what about your eyes? They need checkups too. Some eye conditions can be serious and happen fast. Visit your eye doctor right away if you have any of the following problems:

  • Any sudden change in vision
  • Blurry vision that doesn’t go away
  • Eye pain
  • Eye drainage or redness
  • Double vision
  • New floaters (tiny specks that appear to float before your eyes) and/or sudden flashes of light
  • Circles (halos) around light sources
  • A curtain-like shadow in one eye

As you get older, you’re at higher risk of developing age-related eye diseases and conditions. People with these and other eye conditions are more likely to experience other chronic conditions like diabetes, poor hearing, arthritis, heart problems, high blood pressure, lower back pain, depression, and stroke. They also have increased risk for falls, injury, and depression than those with good vision. Vision health should be considered a part of overall health to help prevent development of these comorbid conditions.

Millennials have the chance to be the healthiest generation yet, thanks to more health knowledge, ability to stay on top of health trends via social media, and access to healthy food and health care. Along with everything else you do to take care of yourself, make sure to keep vision health on your radar.

More Information

1. Varma R, Vajaranant TS, Burkemper B, et al. (2016). Visual impairment and blindness in adults in the United States: Demographic and geographic variations from 2015 to 2050. JAMA ophthalmology, 134(7), 802-809.