Don’t take your vision for granted. There are simple things you can do to keep your eyes healthy involving diet, vitamins and lifestyle changes.
Good eye health starts with the food on your plate. Nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, zinc, and vitamins C and E might help ward off age-related vision problems like macular degeneration and cataracts. To get them, fill your plate with these foods:
- Green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, and collards
- Salmon, tuna, and other oily fish
- Eggs, nuts, beans, and other nonmeat protein sources
- Oranges and other citrus fruits or juices
- Oysters and pork
A well-balanced diet also helps you stay at a healthy weight. That lowers your odds of obesity and related diseases like type 2 diabetes, which is the leading cause of blindness in adults.
Your eyes are complex organs that need many different vitamins and nutrients to function properly.
Common conditions, such as diabetic retinopathy, age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma and cataracts, can impact your eyes.
Though a variety of different factors causes these conditions, nutrition seems to have an influence on all of them — at least in part.
There are several key vitamins and nutrients that help maintain eye health.
1. Vitamin A: Vitamin A plays a crucial role in vision by maintaining a clear cornea, which is the outside covering of your eye.
2. Vitamin E: Vitamin E is a potent antioxidant that helps protect your cells — including your eye cells — from damage by free radicals, which are harmful, unstable molecules.
3. Vitamin C: Like vitamin E, vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that may protect your eyes against damaging free radicals
4. Vitamins B6, B9, and B12: This combination of vitamins can lower levels of homocysteine, a protein in your body that may be associated with inflammation and an increased risk of developing AMD
5. Riboflavin: Another B vitamin studied in relation to eye health is riboflavin (vitamin B2). As an antioxidant, riboflavin has the potential to reduce oxidative stress in your body, including your eyes
6. Niacin: Recently, studies have suggested that niacin may play a role in the prevention of glaucoma, a condition in which the optic nerve of your eye becomes damaged (23).
7. Lutein and Zeaxanthin: Both of these carotenoids can be found in the macula and retina of your eyes, where they help filter potentially harmful blue light, thus protecting your eyes from damage.
Eye Vitamins for Macular Degeneration
There are also numerous over-the-counter eye vitamins by different manufacturers that were formulated and patented based on the clinical evidence from the landmark, independent Age-Related Eye Disease Studies also known as AREDS and AREDS 2.
These formulas have been scientifically proven to slow the rate of progression of Macular Degeneration.
Ask your eye care professional or Dr. Huggett if taking these eye vitamins would be beneficial for you.
If you smoke, quit. Smoking makes you more likely to get cataracts, damage to your optic nerve, and macular degeneration, among many other medical problems. If you’ve tried to kick the habit before only to start again, keep at it. The more times you try to quit, the more likely you are to succeed. Ask your doctor for help.
The right pair of sunglasses will help protect your eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. Too much UV exposure boosts your chances of cataracts and macular degeneration.
Choose a pair that blocks 99% to 100% of UVA and UVB rays. Wraparound lenses help protect your eyes from the side. Polarized lenses reduce glare while you drive, but don’t necessarily offer added protection.
Use Safety Eyewear
If you use hazardous or airborne materials on the job or at home, wear safety glasses or protective goggles.
Sports like ice hockey, racquetball, and lacrosse can also lead to eye injury without eye protection. And helmets with protective face masks or sports goggles with polycarbonate lenses will shield your eyes.
Using Your Computer Safely
Staring at a computer screen for too long can cause:
- Blurry vision
- Trouble focusing at a distance
- Dry eyes
- Neck, back, and shoulder pain
To protect your eyes:
- Move the screen so your eyes are level with the top of the monitor. That lets you look slightly down at the screen.
- Choose a comfortable, supportive chair. Position it so that your feet are flat on the floor.
- Remember the 20 – 20 – 20 rule. Rest your eyes every 20 minutes. Look 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Get up at least every 2 hours and take a 15-minute break.
- Avoid glare.
Use a Blue-light Safe Lighting
Now there is lighting that was specifically engineered for those with Macular Degeneration and low vision and recommended by Dr. Huggett. Introducing Dr. Lite lamps. Dr. Lite is the first and only company to offer a MEDICAL-GRADE, doctor-recommended line of products designed to keep eyes healthy and prevent damage caused by blue light exposure.
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