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Eye Health

As we age, so do our eyes. Vision problems usually creep up slowly. Blindness and low vision can lead to loss of independence and reduced quality of life. As our population lives longer, eye disease will be an even greater concern. Diabetic patients have a 25-fold increase in the risk of blindness as compared to non-diabetic patients.

Age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataract, and diabetic retinopathy and uncorrected refractive errors are the most common vision problems and the leading causes of blindness.

Warning Signs of Vision Problems

Some vision problems have no warning signs and can cause permanent vision loss if left uncorrected. Warning signs of vision problems includes:
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Impaired close-up, side or night vision
  • Frequent changes in eyeglass prescription
  • Problems with glare from lamps or the sun
  • White spot or cloudy spot in the lens of the eye

Cataract

Cataract is the clouding of the lens in the eye that affects vision. Most cataracts are related to aging. Cataract can occur in either or both eyes, but it cannot spread from one eye to the other. Clouding of the lens could be due to the clumping of protein in the lens that reduces light that reaches the retina. It can also be caused by changes in the clear lens whereby the lens changes to yellowish/brownish color.

Age-related Macular Degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration is a chronic eye disease that occurs when tissue in the macula, the part of the retina that is responsible for central vision, deteriorates. Degeneration of the macula causes blurred central vision or a blind spot in the center of visual field.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a group of diseases, whereby the common feature is damage to the optic nerve, usually accompanied by an abnormally high pressure inside the eyeball. The optic nerve is a bundle of nerve fibers at the back of our eye. Blind spots develop in the visual field when the optic nerve deteriorates, usually starting with the peripheral (side) vision. If left untreated, glaucoma may lead to blindness in both eyes.

Refractive Errors

Refractive errors (myopia, hyperopia, presbyopia and astigmatism) can be easily diagnosed, measured and corrected with spectacles or other refractive corrections to attain normal vision. If, however, they are not corrected or the correction is inadequate, refractive errors become a major cause of low vision and even blindness.

Prevention
We can take steps to help delay or prevent the development of vision problems:
  • Don't smoke. Smoking produces free radicals, increasing risk of eye problems.
  • Eat a balanced diet. A nutritionally balanced diet with plenty of leafy greens, fruits and other vegetables are important to promote good retinal health.
  • Protection from the sun. Ultraviolet light may contribute to the development of cataracts and macular degeneration. Whenever possible, wear sunglasses when we are outdoors.
  • Limit caffeine. Limiting caffeine to low or moderate levels may be helpful.
  • Take care of other health problems. Follow the treatment plan if we have diabetes or other medical conditions.
  • Regular eye examination. Having a regular eye examination will help detect eye problems early and allows for early treatment.

Eye Nutrition

Maximizing vision through nutrition is particularly important given that the current treatment options for vision problems are limited. Statistically 85% of all vision impairment globally is avoidable. Many vision problems have been linked to the cumulative effects of oxidative stress and inflammatory response. Good eye nutrition helps maintain healthy eyesight, improve vision condition and delays disease progression.

Lutein and zeaxanthin are the only caroteinoids found in the eye, naturally concentrated at the retina and lens and they function as antioxidants and absorption of the damaging UV-light. Being one of the most important nutrients for vision health, they are essential for sharp vision and prevention of free radical damage on the retina and lens.

Fish Oils provide essential fatty acids DHA and EPA which are essential for the structure of optic nerve, retina and regulation of retinal inflammatory response. Studies have shown that regular consumption of fish and the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oils may reduce the risk of macular degeneration.

Betacarotene, Vitamin C and E are powerful ocular antioxidants. Betacarotene is also essential for black, white and night vision.

Zinc and copper acts as cofactor for antioxidant enzymes. Zinc is also an important ocular anti-inflammatory agent and is essential to prevent free radical damage on the retina and lens.

Selenium activates antioxidant enzymes and helps prevent free radical damage on the retina and lens.

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