Chronic Eye Disease and Lifestyle Factors

Last Updated: November 28, 2022

Taking measures to prevent and manage chronic conditions is an important part of our overall health, especially when it comes to our eyes. Having regular comprehensive eye exams can detect problems long before symptoms show up, and should be an important part of your regular preventative health routine.

Here’s a list of common chronic eye diseases and what steps you can take to manage them:

Diabetic and Hypertensive Retinopathy

Diabetes and hypertension can cause secondary damage to the blood vessels of the retina. Maintaining a healthy weight by exercising and eating well greatly reduces the risk of diabetes and hypertension. It is also important to go for yearly comprehensive eye exams to monitor any changes.


With old age, the lens of the eye becomes progressively opaque. While the exact cause of Cataracts is unknown, poor diet, excessive UV exposure, and smoking are all known to increase the risk of developing cataracts.

Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

AMD is the progressive deterioration of the macula (center of the retina) that occurs with aging. Smoking, UV exposure, poor diet and lack of exercise can all speed up the development AMD.

Thyroid Ophthalmopathy (Grave’s Disease)

Thyroid Ophthalmopathy, also known as Grave’s Disease, is an autoimmune disease characterized by an increase in the volume of fatty connective tissue and enlargement of the muscles around the eye. Smoking is a major risk factor. Vision-threatening changes to the eye structure can be monitored through comprehensive eye exams.


Glaucoma is a group of diseases that cause progressive damage to the optic nerve, associated with pressure occurring within the eye. Glaucoma often has no symptoms until it is late stage. Regular eye exams are crucial for early diagnosis that can prevent irreversible vision loss.

Dry Eye

Dry Eye is a chronic condition affecting the tear film, characterized by tear deficiency or excessive evaporation. This lack of moisture causes damage to the ocular surface. Dry Eye can be prevented and managed with proper lid hygiene, a diet rich in omega-3s, remembering to take breaks from screen exposure (the 20-20-20 rule: look at something 20 meters away for 20 seconds, every 20 minutes), minimizing exposure to direct air vents, healthy diet/exercise, and regular eye exams.

Visit your local doctor of optometry today to make vision care part of your preventative health routine.