“The eye is the jewel of the body.” Henry David Thoreau
While writing this I am temporarily sporting a pair of Dollar Store readers as I wait, 7 – 10 long days, for my new eyeglass prescription. Only 5 days into the wait and it’s been a struggle. I know there will be relief soon but declining eye health is a part of the aging process and, like so many aspects of aging, I would like to do it gracefully.
While visiting my Ophthalmologist I was able to ask if there were ways, other than healthy diet and wearing sunglasses, to protect my vision. In return he stated that I was on the right track and if I continued to add an annual eye exam to this equation he saw no reason that I would have to use supplements for my eye health.
Let’s start with the eye exam. Your Ophthalmologist will be able to check your vision as well as uncover the signs of diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, cancer, and other health related problems through the use of eye fundus screening. Early detection and treatment can greatly improve the quality of life so this screening process is worth asking your doctor about.
Second, eating a diet rich in color is a fabulous way to protect your eyes. “Studies show that people who eat more foods that are high in lutein and zeaxanthin are less likely to have cataracts or age related macular degeneration (ARMD).” Lutein and zeaxanthin are antioxidants found in green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, and Swiss chard, as well as other vegetables rich in yellows, orange, and reds. Another source of lutein and zeaxanthin is found in egg yolks. While you are planning that beautiful rainbow of foods into your weekly menu, don’t forget to include foods that are rich in omega 3’s. You can do this by adding wild-caught, cold water seafood to your diet. Salmon is a great source of omega 3’s and also contains astaxanthin, another super antioxidant for your eyes.
And before you head out, don’t forget your sunglasses! Sunlight can damage the lens of the eyes which allows free radicals to enter and cause damage to healthy cells. This weakening of the lens leads to cataracts, retina damage, and macular degeneration. All of this can be prevented by wearing a good pair of sunglasses with UV blocker lens. Look for sunglasses that have been approved by the American National Standards Institute to be sure they have met the guidelines to block ultraviolet light.
To ensure the health of your eyes, regardless of age, it is important to see an Ophthalmologist regularly, eat a healthy diet, and protect your eyes from ultraviolet light. Even though I am suffering through the waiting process for my new prescription, I am thankful that my eye exam was thorough and I have no signs of macula melanoma or other serious health conditions.
Get started now and see how great your future looks!
Sears, William, and Martha Sears. "Chapter 6 Improve Your Eye-Q." Prime-time Health: A Scientifically Proven Plan for Feeling Young and Living Longer. New York: Little, Brown, 2010. N. pag. Print.
If you would like more science-based information about maintaining and preserving healthy vision, visit www.allaboutvision.com. Visit The World's Healthiest Foods for more sources of omega 3 rich foods.