The foods you eat and the dietary supplements you take affect your overall health and the health of your eyes. Nutrition and your eyes are linked together and can help prevent certain eye diseases along with other health problems.
Choosing healthy foods improves your overall health as well as your eye health. Dark green or brightly colored fruits and vegetables are essential parts of a healthy diet. These fruits and vegetables may also help to reduce the risks of developing eye diseases. Sugars and white flours may increase your risk of age-related eye disease, instead, opt for whole grains which do not have the same risks. Healthy fats containing omega-3 essential fatty acids are critical to your diet. These healthy fats can help prevent dry eyes and cataracts.
Staying hydrated is essential to the health of your eyes. Drink plenty of water every day! We also recommend choosing healthy beverages and avoiding high sugar beverages. Proper hydration is linked to the reduction of dry eye symptoms.
Nutrients are an essential part of a healthy diet. These nutrients can be found in foods but can also be taken in supplements to ensure you are receiving the proper amount in your diet. Consult with your primary care provider before taking any dietary supplements. Here are a few nutrients that may have a link to eye health:
- Vitamin A: may protect against night blindness and dry eyes
- Omega 3 fatty acids: may prevent macular degeneration and dry eyes
- Vitamin C: may reduce risks of cataracts and macular degeneration
- Vitamin D: may reduce risks of macular degeneration
- Zinc: may reduce risks of night blindness
- Vitamin E: may reduce the risk of advanced macular degeneration
As you age, it is essential to consider all factors that could affect the overall health of your eyes. Not only should you adopt a healthy diet, but you can also do several other things to protect your eyes. One way to protect your eyes is to avoid overexposure to ultraviolet rays, which includes wearing sunglasses outdoors and staying away from tanning beds. Now is the time to quit smoking, not only is smoking harmful to your overall health it also increased your risks for many eye diseases. Finally, ensure that you are getting annual eye exams to detect any eye diseases before they cause permanent vision loss.
Nutrition and your eyes are highly connected, continue to find ways to feed your body the food and nutrients it needs to live a healthy life with healthy eyes.
Think you may be at risk for developing cataracts? Here is an overview of the most frequently asked questions about cataracts, including potential cataract treatment and congenital cataracts. Give our office a call and schedule an appointment to have your questions answered!
What are cataracts?
Cataracts are a clouding of the eye’s natural lens and are the most common cause of vision loss in the world. According to Prevent Blindness America, more than 22 million Americans have cataracts.
Who gets cataracts?
Cataracts begin to form in those over the age of 40. However, it is typically after age 60 that cataracts cause problems with vision.
Are there any signs or symptoms?
Cataracts start small and have little effect on your vision at first. However, you may notice symptoms once the cataract is well developed.
Potential symptoms include:
- Blurred vision
- Cloudy or foggy vision
- Light from the sun or a lamp feels too bright or glaring
- Oncoming headlights while driving cause more glare
- Colors appear dimmed or faded
What causes cataracts?
As we age the natural protein in our eyes can clump together and cover a small area of the lens. Over time this may grow larger and cloud more of the lens. This cloud is what we refer to as a cataract.
Can I prevent cataracts?
It is not believed that there is anything you can do to prevent cataracts. However, there are a number of things you can do to reduce your risk of developing cataracts. Nutrients such as vitamin E and vitamin C are believed to reduce your risk. Eating a healthy and well-balanced diet can help. Additionally, wearing sunglasses that block 100 percent of UV rays can reduce cataract risk.
What increases my risk for cataracts?
- UV radiation
- Family history
- Significant alcohol consumption
- Certain medications
Is there cataract treatment?
The treatment for cataracts will vary for each person. When symptoms begin to appear patients may use new stronger prescription glasses. Cataract surgery will become an option if the cataract progresses far enough to impair your vision. Cataract surgery is the most frequently performed surgery in the United States and is successful in restoring vision.
What are congenital cataracts?
Congenital cataracts occur in newborn babies because the eye’s natural lens is cloudy instead of clear. Often this results in vision problems for the child. However, this occurs in only 0.4% of all births and is relatively uncommon.
To discuss your risk for developing cataracts schedule an appointment today! The best way to prevent vision loss is by having regular eye exams.