Protect Your Peepers: Keep Eyes Healthy into Old Age

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By Dr. Lydia Thurton
August 13th Edition

Macular degeneration is the most common cause of blindness in older adults over the age of 65. The macula is the spot on the back of the eye with the most light receptors. It is the area of the eye that does the most work to absorb light and transfer the image to your brain for interpretation.

When macular degeneration starts images become blurry in the central field of vision and you may notice a blind spot. Activities like reading, driving and watching movies become more and more difficult. Colors appear dull. It can become difficult to move from areas of bright light to low light, like when you enter a dimly lit restaurant. Usually the other eye will compensate for this vision loss so it might take years before you realize that your vision is compromised in one eye. This is all the more reason to have regular check-ups with your optometrist.

The exact cause of macular degeneration is unknown. High blood pressure and cholesterol, a diet low in fruits and vegetables, smoking and family history of macular degeneration can all predispose you to this vision loss affliction

Reducing your risk of vision loss is easy. Antioxidants protect the blood vessels and vision receptors of the eye. Consuming fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds will give you the vitamin C, beta carotene, vitamin A, and zinc you need to protect your eye sight.

I like to add in some vision super herbs and foods. Bilberry, grape seed extract and resveratrol all offer unique antioxidant effects that have been shown to protect your eye, blood vessels, and light receptors. A quality fish oil can also help prevent age related macular degeneration.

Emerging research also points to hormonal deficits as a cause of macular degeneration. As we age our reservoir of hormones like DHEA and progesterone decline in both men and women. I always advise hormonal testing in my older patients because so much of our health is dependant on having appropriate hormone levels. This can be another approach to take if you notice your vision is declining steadily.

A healthy lifestyle is your best bet to prevent age related macular degeneration. There are so many antioxidant products on the market that it makes sense to save money and find a vision product that combines a number of potent ingredients. It can be hard to appreciate your vision until you start to notice changes. Prevention is always worth a pound of cure. Keep healthy!

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