NEW YORK—September is Healthy Aging Month, 30 days dedicated to promoting healthy habits as people age. Staying healthy as you get older is an all hands on deck activity, of course, involving healthy eating, regular exercise, visits to the doctor, and keeping your eye health at the forefront of your mind. Older adults are at higher risk for a number of eye diseases including AMD, glaucoma and cataract, but, as the National Eye Institute (NEI) said, “getting older does not have to mean losing your vision.” As members of the eyecare community it is part of our duties this month to make that reminder clear—and to ensure older adults have all the resources they need to keep their eyes healthy as they age.

Preventing vision loss in older adults is a crucial step toward keeping everyone healthy, and that starts with education. The NEI has made many resources available for free online, including videos and webinars, articles and fact sheets, social media copy, a toolkit to help lead a presentation and infographics and infocards that can be shared online.

All of these resources are available on the NEI’s Healthy Aging Month page, which also provides a helpful guide for older adults who would like to talk to their ECP about AMD. From information about AMD to questions for the ECP to a symptom tracker, this guide helps your patients understand their eye health—and helps you be even more effective when treating them.

For ECPs who want to reach beyond their own office and social media pages, the NEI also offers a toolkit to help you work with local media, including articles and tips that ECPs can use to collaborate with local newspapers, radio stations or TV networks. Building these media partnerships is a great way to spread the word about eye health and your practice—and it also helps smaller, independent ECPs create an even stronger presence in their community.

Because the NEI is a government entity, the vast majority of its content is public domain—or free to use, as long as you write or mention. “Courtesy: National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health (NEI/NIH).” The NEI has a detailed copyright policy online, for any tricky situations you might encounter.

In addition to eyecare, Healthy Aging Month aims to spread awareness about aging and how we treat older adults across the board. Earlier this month, the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion’s director RDML Paul Reed, MD, spoke with Patricia D’Antonio, executive director for the National Center to Reframe Aging, to discuss ageism and how it affects all of us.

D’Antonio said, “When we think about definitions of ageism, it goes a little more deeply to think about not only the external ageism that we may experience, but our own internalized ageism. It’s a constant battle, and one that really has health implications for us all.” A full recording of their conversation about aging and ageism is available on the ODPHP’s website. also provides Move Your Way, a resource to help older adults get the physical activity they need to stay healthy. This resource includes an interactive tool that allows users to build a personalized weekly activity plan.

Healthy Aging Month is a wide-spanning, important month of action—one that our eyecare community is a central tenant of. From educating patients to treating eye diseases, there is almost no shortage of the difference ECPs can make this September.

The NEI provides a number fact sheets that ECPs can print out and provide to patients to educate them about how vision changes with age. These fact sheets cover AMD, cataract, changing vision, the importance of dilated eye exams, disease prevention and many more. They are available in English and Spanish.

The NEI has also created social media graphics that are free to share. These graphics can be used on Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook or any other social media, and touch upon all aspects of healthy aging. On another page, the NEI has complied potential captions to use with these graphics.

Video resources are also available in English and Spanish. These include simple explanations of age-related eye diseases and conditions, as well as patient testimonials.