Prevent Macular Degeneration - Save Your Eyesight!
Macular degeneration is a condition of the eyes that can result in progressively limited vision and eventually total blindness. You can take steps to prevent macular degeneration, especially if you have risk factors for the disease, or slow its progression if you already have it. Please note that even following all preventative steps and your doctor’s advice may not fully protect you from macular degeneration.
Smoking is the number one, biggest risk factor for a number of diseases, including lung and bladder cancer and macular degeneration. So even if the habit doesn't kill you, it can make you go blind. Now is the time to consider quitting, not just to save your life, but also your sight.
Keep a close eye on your weight and cholesterol
Being overweight can put you at risk for a number of diseases and conditions. Add losing your sight to that list. Maintaining your proper weight and being active can keep you healthy and strong for life as well as reduce your risk of macular degeneration by as much as 70 percent according to studies.
Out of control cholesterol can put you at risk for blood vessel blockage, meaning that blood flow cannot get to all of the areas of the body where it is needed, including the eyes. High blood pressure has been linked to blinding forms of macular degeneration.
Dietary changes can help
Skipping refined carbohydrates can not only help you lose weight, but can also lower your risk of vision problems. Pass on things like pasta, sugar, white rice and potatoes and opt for whole grains instead.
Adding fish to your diet is beneficial to your heart health as well as to your eye health. Eating fish does not mean grabbing a fish sandwich at the local fast food joint, however. The fish you choose should be fresh fish, not breaded and not fried. Learn a variety of fish recipes and aim for around three servings per week to reduce your risk of macular degeneration by 40 percent or more.
Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables and nuts
Popeye popped a can of spinach to save his lady love, but he might have saved his vision as well. Eating dark, leafy greens such as spinach, kale and collard greens a few times a week can help you to prevent macular degeneration as well as fight off other diseases in the process. These vegetables have high concentration of the lutein and zeaxanthin. Other good food sources of these important carotenoid compounds are squash, yellow peppers, eggs, peaches, carrots, sweet potatoes and pumpkins.
Adding fruits and nuts to your diet is another easy and delicious way to reduce your risk of macular degeneration. Aim for three or more servings of fruit per day as well as about an ounce of nuts.
Don't forget your vitamins
Most adults do not get enough of everything that they need for a variety of reasons. They may not have as much of an appetite as they used to, they may forget to eat as often as they should, or they may simply make poor food choices and not eat a balanced diet. Regardless of the reason, many adults need a little boost to meet all of their recommended daily allowances for key nutrients. Adding supplements may be the best way for them to meet these needs and help to prevent macular degeneration.
But while taking a vitamin is okay, taking the right vitamin is even better. A certain formula of antioxidants and zinc can help lower your risk of macular degeneration better than just random vitamins can. While you could try to find the right dosages of each nutrient separately, it is more convenient, safer and easier to take specially packaged vitamins that are labeled for this use. Talk with your eye care professional to find out which is best for you as well as discuss the potential risk factors for taking them. For instance, if you still smoke, you should not take vitamins that contain high levels of beta carotene because this can put you at an even greater risk for lung cancer. (You can continue to eat foods that give you natural beta carotene however, without a problem.)
Vamp up your eyes
Wear glasses with 100% UV protection whenever you're outdoors to protect your eyes from harmful rays. Even on overcast days, the sun's radiation can still damage your eyes, so don't forget those shades! (Or if you prefer, you can get a UV protective coating on your regular eyeglasses.)
See your doctor so that you can continue to see your doctor
Make sure that you see your eye doctor every two years, or more if you are at special risk for any vision-threatening disorder. Regular eye exams are one of the best ways you can prevent sight-loss from macular degeneration and other eye diseases.
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