The National Federation of the Blind estimates that about 10 million people in the U.S. are blind or visually impaired, but just 1% of those 10 million people are born blind.1 The vast majority of them lose their vision later in life due to cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, dry-eye disease, or diabetes.
The good news is that these conditions can, in many cases, be prevented or treated to minimize damage to vision. WebMD® offers a wealth of helpful information and tips for protecting our vision at any age. Here are just a few.
Your eyes are connected to your stomach. Nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, zinc, and vitamins A, C and E may help fight age-related vision problems like cataracts and age-related macular degeneration — deteriorating vision that's the leading cause of blindness in older people.
Here are a few tasty tips for making sure you get a healthy dose of these essential nutrients, compliments of Harvard Health:
|Omega-3 fatty acids||Flaxseed, flaxseed oil, halibut, salmon, sardines, tuna, walnuts|
|Lutein||Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, collard greens, corn, eggs, kale, nectarines, oranges, papayas, romaine lettuce, spinach, squash|
|Zinc||Chickpeas, oysters, pork chops, red meat, yogurt|
|Vitamin A||Apricots, cantaloupe (raw), carrots, mangos, red peppers (raw), ricotta cheese (part-skim), spinach, sweet potatoes|
|Vitamin C||Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, grapefruit, kiwi, oranges, red peppers (raw), strawberries|
|Vitamin E||Almonds, broccoli, peanut butter, spinach, sunflower seeds, wheat germ|
Of course, it’s not just what you eat – it’s how much! Maintain an overall well-balanced diet to stay at a healthy weight, which helps lower your risk of type 2 diabetes. According to the National Institutes of Health, diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of vision impairment and blindness among working-age adults. Diabetes also boosts your risk for glaucoma and cataracts.
While a healthy diet is important for every part of our bodies, healthy habits can help prevent vision problems, as well.
Again, here are some great tips from WebMD :
These days, it seems we’re all spending more and more time staring at our computer screens, which can cause eye strain. Take care of your eyes when you're reading or working at the computer with these helpful tips, again from the experts at WebMD:
Good hygiene supports good health. Help keep your eyes “clean” with thefollowing advice from WebMD:
Visit your eye doctor on a regular basis. Everyone — even young children — should have their eyes examined regularly. If you're at risk for eye problems or have a family history of them, this is even more important. Depending on your needs, you can see an optometrist or an ophthalmologist for an eye exam.
Optometrists can perform eye exams; prescribe glasses or contact lenses; diagnose eye conditions like glaucoma, cataracts, and macular degeneration; and, in some states, prescribe medicine. Optometrists cannot, however, perform eye surgery.
Ophthalmologists are medical doctors who focus on eye care. They can provide general vision care, treat eye diseases, and perform eye surgery.
The National Federation for the Blind estimates there are 93,600 blind or visually impaired school age children in the U.S.3 Early intervention is critical. Children need their vision checked at six months, three years, and before first grade.
If a child exhibits any of the following symptoms, he or she should be checked right away:
Adults 19 to 60 years of age should have an eye exam at least every two years. If you have vision problems, a family history of eye disease, or high blood pressure or diabetes, your doctor may want to see you more often.
At any age, you should see your doctor right away if you notice any of the following:
If you're 60 or older, you should have an eye exam once a year, or more often if your eye doctor thinks you need it. As you age, your risk increases for some eye diseases, such as glaucoma, that have no early symptoms. So a person can have this condition and not know it. However, major medical advances in detecting and treating age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, and cataracts may help people with these conditions keep their vision.
It’s clear to see: Regular eye exams are the best way to catch eye problems early when they're easier to treat.
This material is provided for informational use only and should not be construed as medical advice or used in place of consulting a licensed medical professional.
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