Besides short sightedness and dry eyes, the most common eye diseases are macular degeneration, cataract and glaucoma. Do you know the difference between these 3 eye diseases?
Cataract is the leading cause of blindness in people over 40 years old while macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in those over 60 years of age. Macular degeneration happens when the small central area of the retina (macular) starts to degenerate due to aging or hereditary. You start to lose your central vision. Cataract is the opacity of the lens (cloud formation) that is caused by aging. There are certain risk factors related to these two eye diseases. Age, obesity, hereditary, high blood pressure, smoking and medication (e.g chloroquine for malaria; phenothiazine- psychiatric medication) can increase your risk of developing macular degeneration. Risk factors for developing cataract are UV radiation, diabetes, overuse of alcohol, overweight, smoking, long term use of corticosteroid, statin, cholesterol lowering medication, and hormone replacement therapy.
How to protect our eyes? It’s not hard. Eliminate as many risk factors as possible and give your eyes good nutrients. Eat healthy by increasing daily intake of green leafy veggie and fruit, and lowering the amount of processed carbohydrates like rice, potatoes, and white bread. Include nuts and fish in your diet. Don’t forget to have adequate intake of pure water. Wear your sunglasses that can block 100% UV rays. Visit your optometrist for regular check up. Supplement yours eyes with good vitamins, antioxidants and minerals. Researchers have found out that nutritional level is low for people between 45 to 65 years old. Low level of nutrition is inadequate to support our eyes. Tons of researches indicate that vitamin C, E, B6, B12, folic acid, riboflavin, beta-carotene, carotenoids, resveratrol, zinc and copper can reduce the risk of macular degeneration or can help improve the condition. A large Sweden study also shows that high dose of antioxidants can reduce the risk of developing cataracts in women. Other minerals such as selemium, calcium and magnesium are essential in eye health too. Grape seed extract and vitamin C have been shown to protect the cells and blood vessels of the eyes. High blood level of omega 3 fatty acids reduces risk of macular degeneration, cataract and inflammation related to dry eye syndrome. A little note: trans-fat blocks the absorption of omega 3 fatty acids’s absorption in the body. Last but not least, coenzyme Q10 can stabilize the vision of early stage of macular degeneration.
We only have one pair of eyes, so protect them! Don’t overwork them. They require us to feed and treat them well.