Retinal Health Education Part 3

When it comes to macular degeneration, there is not a lot we can do to prevent it, but certain lifestyle habits can reduce our risk. Let’s start with exposure to radiation. Limiting your exposure to the sun, and for sure wearing quality sunglasses when outdoors is the best habit we can have to lessen the harmful effect of the sun’s rays on our eyes over the years.

Since smoking adds to your risk of MD, that one is a no brainer – don’t do it. If you do, at least reduce the amount you smoke or quit altogether.

Just as for overall health and avoiding cardiovascular disease and diabetes, keeping as active and fit as possible has a direct effect on the health of your eyes in the long run. Obesity has been shown to have an association with MD.

And just as your parents told you, eat your veggies! Diet can have a significant protective effect on the health of your maculas. Antioxidant vitamins called zeaxanthin and lutein, found in many dark green and colorful vegetables, are what the retinal cells use to stay healthy, and when you eat enough, can have an impact. These vitamins contribute to the formation of pigment in our retinas. Pigment is good, because it absorbs the harmful radiation from the sun and blue light-emitting devices. It’s found in veggies like collard greens, mustard greens, spinach, kale, swiss chard, orange and red peppers (yes, carrots as well), and others.

Because we would have to eat 8-10 portions of them to get enough, and that’s not as likely as we would hope, I always recommend a daily supplement. Not to mention it would cost much more to buy the veggies you would need to get the desired effect. When we see early signs of macular damage or if there is a family history or a combination of risk factors, I prescribe either a vitamin called AREDS 2 by Eye Promise, or another called Macuhealth. Both are outstanding and provide our eyes with what they need to reduce some of the risk of developing, or progression of, macular degeneration.

What can we do to avoid developing MD early in life? Dr. B explains how in Retinal Health Part 4

Related Articles:

  1. Retinal Health Education: Part 1
  2. Retinal Health Education: Part 2
  3. Retinal Health Education: Part 4
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