Ed Day, Rockland County Executive

September 18, 2017
Contact: Jane Lerner, Director of Strategic Communications (845) 638-5645
               Patricia Schnabel Ruppert, D.O., M.P.H., CPE, DABFM, FAAFP (845) 364-2512


NEW CITY, NY - - Rockland County Executive Ed Day and County Health Commissioner Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert announced today that September is Healthy Aging Month. The theme this year is "see well for a lifetime."

Vision loss and blindness are not a normal part of aging, though some vision changes such as losing focus, having trouble telling colors apart such as blue and black, and needing more light to see well, are common. These changes can often be corrected with contact lenses or glasses and improved lighting. There are many things you can do to reduce your risk of vision loss from eye disease and make sure your eyes are healthy:

  • Have a comprehensive dilated eye exam: your eye care professional places drops in your eyes to dilate, or widen, the pupil to get a good look at the back of your eyes and examine them for any signs of damage or disease.
  • Know your risk factors: As you get older, you are at higher risk of developing certain age-related eye diseases and conditions such as cataracts (clouding of the lens in the eye), glaucoma (a group of diseases that can cause fluid and pressure to build up in the eye and damage the optic nerve) and age-related macular degeneration (which gradually destroys the macula, the part of the eye that provides sharp, central vision). Having a family history of eye disease also puts you at higher risk.
  • Eat right to protect your sight: Eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, particularly dark leafy greens such as spinach, kale, or collard greens, which are high in lutein and zeaxanthin, two nutrients found in the healthy eye that are believed to lower your risk for age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. Eggs are also a good source of these nutrients, as are broccoli, peas and corn. Some studies suggest that diets rich in omega-3 fatty acid from cold-water fish like salmon, tuna, sardines and halibut reduce the risk of developing eye disease later in life. Citrus fruits such as oranges and grapefruit are high in vitamin C, an antioxidant that is critical to eye health. Other foods also offer similar benefits, including peaches, red peppers, tomatoes and strawberries. Legumes of all kinds, including black-eyed peas, kidney beans, lima beans, and peanuts contain zinc, which may help protect your eyes from the damaging effects of light. Other foods high in zinc include oysters, lean red meat, poultry and fortified cereals. Carrots and other orange-colored fruits and vegetables like sweet potatoes, apricots, and cantaloupe are high in beta-carotene, a nutrient that helps with night vision. For more information visit Talk to your eye care profession to see if you need to add any vitamins or supplements to keep your eyes healthy or slow vision loss, and visit
  • Wear sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat: When buying sunglasses, look for ones with a sticker or tag indicating that they block out 99 to 100% of both UVA and UVB radiation.
  • Don't smoke: Smoking is as bad for your eyes as it is for the rest of your body. For help to quit smoking call the Health Department's Put It Out Rockland program at 364-2651 or the New York State Smokers Quitline at 1-866-NY-QUITS.
  • Use protective eyewear: such as goggles, safety glasses, face shields, and eye guards when playing sports or doing activities around the home.

For more information, visit the National Eye Institute website at