7 Keys to Healthy Vision

If you ask the average person “Which one of your senses would you least like to lose?” I believe we would all receive the same answer: “My eyesight.”
Fear of loosing our sight as we age is an almost universal fear.
But there is good news – many of the age-related eye disorders such as cataracts, glaucoma and macula degeneration can be minimised or prevented.
Simply by implementing the following bullet points might ensure clear sharp vision for years to come.

1 - Have your eyes examined regularly

Shakespeare once wrote that “The eyes are the window to the soul.” Nowhere else in the body are we able to view the actual blood vessels in action like we can when we look at the retina. As such, we can often detect general physical diseases by looking at the eyes.

Common eye diseases ....

  • Cataracts
  • Glaucoma
  • Macular Degeneration
  • Retinal Detachment
  • Dry Eye
  • Corneal Degeneration

Systemic diseases may also be detected during an eye exam.

  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension – High Blood Pressure
  • Hypercholesterolaemia – High Cholesterol

Eye disease warning signs ....

If you experience any of the following symptoms, you should have your eyes examined quickly:

  • Sudden loss of vision in one or both eyes
  • Seeing flashes of light in your eyes
  • Seeing large numbers of spots or “floaters” in your eyes
  • Double vision
  • Pain in or around the eyes

In summary #1 is quite simple to remember – have your eyes and the eyes of those in your family checked at least once every two years or more regularly if advised.

2 - Have a physical examination regularly

Your eyes, as part of your body, rely on the other parts of your body to be healthy. If your circulation is poor, your eyes will lack the proper nutrients they need to work.

Likewise, if your heart doesn’t work well, the blood won’t even make it to your eyes! Having a regular physical exam with your family doctor is critical. During your exam, your doctor will be checking for general physical conditions that, if untreated, will not only cause serious health issues, but can cause blindness as well.

The most potentially devastating of these conditions when it comes to your eyes is diabetes. The fine blood vessels in your retina are particularly susceptible to damage from diabetes leading to a sight threatening condition known as diabetic retinopathy.

3 - Eat the good stuff

Antioxidants:

They have a part to play in reducing the effects of macular degeneration and cataract formation. Vitamin A is one antioxidant obtained from animal sources by eating beef, chicken liver or cod liver oil. Carotenoids are red and yellow pigments found in plants. Specific types of Carotenoids called Lutein and Zeaxanthin are found in leafy green vegetables such as spinach and kale. Cooked vegetables are better sources of lutein and zeaxanthin as the heat from cooking releases these antioxidants

Vitamin C:

Studies show that Vitamin C is helpful in reducing the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration as well as alleviating glaucoma. Light is destructive to Vitamin C so choose orange juice in cartons rather than clear bottles. Kiwi Fruit, Oranges, broccoli, mangoes, raspberries and green peppers are all rich in Vitamin C.

Bioflavonoids:

These are antioxidants that give certain foods their deep colours. Bilberry is an example. While not proven, there is anecdotal evidence to suggest that bilberry can help improve your night vision

Omega 3 and 6:

In our eyes too much Omega 6 can lead to macular degeneration. Optimal health requires a balanced ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 in the range from 1:1 to 4:1. That’s not to say that Omega 6 is bad, but that our western diets are very low in Omega 3. Foods high in Omega 3 are cold water fish such as salmon, mackerel, trout, tuna and sardines. Your best way of reducing Omega 6 is by reducing vegetable based cooking oil. If you have trouble including any of the above in your diet you may source a good quality multivitamin with minerals and lutein.

4 - Quit Smoking

Understanding that it is hard to quit smoking, optometrists are able to assist in kicking the habit by providing nicotine gum and lozenges. Smoking in addition to its effects on your lungs is toxic to retinal tissue and causes increased risk of macular degeneration.

5 - Exercise regularly

The growing diabetic epidemic is of particular concern. The best way to limit your risk of developing diabetes as well as other conditions would be to maintain a healthy weight. If you are overweight start with walking it is low risk and inexpensive. Remember to increase the intensity of your workouts as you progress. Try to exercise at least 30 minutes per day.

6 - Protect your eyes from injury

90% of work related eye injuries could have been prevented by the use of protective eyewear. Some examples of hazardous activities are: fireworks, power tools, lawn mowing, champagne corks and squash balls. Prescription safety eyewear is readily available and should be used. Ideally your safety eyewear should include side shields to prevent debris from hitting your eyes from the side.

7 - Wear sunglasses

Sunglasses protect your eyes from the harmful effects of the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation. UVB radiation is a concern for the eyes and causes sunburn and may play a part in cataract formation. UVB causes snow blindness and welders arc eyes. Always ensure that your lenses have a UV blocking filter for maximum protection.

© 2013 Eyewear Direct

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