Are we all destined to be "four-eyes" in our later years? While glasses may be fashionable now, poor eye health is not. If we don’t know what causes our eyesight to worsen over time, how can we make changes to stop it from happening?
What’s the Cause?
Approximately one in three of us will suffer some type of vision impairment by the age of 65, a rapidly growing part of our population. The top four causes include age-related macular degeneration (AMD), glaucoma, cataracts, and diabetic retinopathy. These result in blurred vision, image distortion, difficulty reading, vision loss, and poor nighttime vision, among other conditions that could pose other safety hazards.
Some impairments manifest due to genetic predisposition, but others may develop as a result of poor diet or other lifestyle habits.
Top 5 Actions You Can Take to Reduce Your Risk
1) Consume Carotenoids.
Carotenoids are found in the yellow/red/orange/green pigments of our fruits and veggies. They are powerful antioxidants that may protect the retina. The two major carotenoids found protective to eye health are lutein and zeaxanthin. Lutein and zeaxanthin accumulate in a specific part of the eye, the retina, and are responsible for central vision. Foods rich in these eye-savers are kiwi, squash, spinach, peas, Brussels sprouts, green beans, apples, grapes, pumpkin, peppers, cucumber, broccoli, and mango.
2) Never Start (or Stop!) Smoking.
Resent research shows that smoking increases risk of macular degeneration (AMD), cataracts, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, as well as dry eye syndrome. The exact mechanisms are not completely understood, but what is known is that damage may be caused by the abundant amount of toxic chemicals (over 4000) present in cigarette smoke that enter the bloodstream. In addition, elevated intraocular pressure and bursting of tiny blood vessels resulting from smoking contribute to the deterioration of the optic nerves and normal eye function.
3) Eat for Heart Health.
Other risk factors associated with eye health include high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol levels. Luckily, NutriBlasts are filled with potassium-rich, low-sodium, high-fiber fruits and veggies to keep your heart strong. Check out our heart-healthy blogs for more information!
4) Maintain Healthy Blood Sugar Levels.
Those diagnosed with diabetes are 25 times more likely to go blind than those undiagnosed. In addition to elevated blood pressure, unmanaged blood sugar levels can pose a serious risk. Consistently high blood sugar levels cause blood to thicken, making it more difficult to flow freely though blood vessels. It ultimately affects the tiny blood vessels of the retina in the eye, which can break down, leak, or become blocked, causing serious damage.
5) Get Regular Checkups.
Some symptoms of deterioration go unnoticed. Be sure to get regular check ups with the eye doctor. This is especially important if you have been a smoker, have been diagnosed with diabetes, or have a history of heart conditions.