Eye health is essential because our eyes are windows to the world! We should do everything we can to keep them healthy so we can to enjoy the function and pleasure they provide for our entire lives. The following the major ways to protect and nourish your eyes.
Protect Your Eyes
From Hazards: Always wear goggles or protective glasses when doing any sport (e.g. racquetball) or work activity (e.g. sanding, drilling) in which there is potential for your eyes to suffer trauma or be contaminated by foreign material.
From the Sun's Rays: Two major causes of vision loss are cataracts (buildup of protein behind the lens, clouding vision) and macular degeneration (leaking or other damage related to the blood vessels in the retina) . Both of these are accelerated by sun exposure to the eyes. When out in bright sunlight, it is best to wear a hat with a visor and sunglasses, which should be UV rated., especially against UVB, which has the most potential for damaging the eyes.
Eat Foods That Nourish and Protect Your Eyes
Lutein and zeaxanthin: These are naturally found in the eye's lens and retina and absorb UVB rays. The best food sources are corn, spinach, kale, Swiss chard, peas, and summer squash. The recommended dose of 6-20 mg of these nutrients can be gotten by eating a total of 3 cups of greens per week. If eaten with healthy oil, these substances are better absorbed.
Omega-3 oils: Most of the retina is made of the omega-3 fat called DHA. When eaten in food, DHA helps repair damage to retinal cells and keeps the interior of blood vessels in the retina healthier and more open. The best food sources of DHA are cold-water fish such as salmon, sardines and mackerel. Salmon has the added advantage that it is high in astaxanthin, which is a powerful eye protecting substance.
Zinc: The retina naturally contains high concentrations of this metal, and a zinc deficiency has been shown to have a negative impact on vision. Foods relatively high in zinc include turkey, shrimp, wheat germ, and pumpkin seeds.
A study by the National Eye Institute found that supplements can promote eye health. Among people at high risk for age related macular degeneration, a combination of 500 mg of vitamin C, 400 IU of vitamin E, 15 mg of beta carotene, 80 mg of zinc, and 2 mg of copper reduced the risk by 25%. The copper supplement served to counteract the copper-blocking effect of zinc.
Vigorous exercise 3 times per week reduced by 25% the risk that early-stage age-related macular degeneration would worsen. See our physical fitness program guidelines.
Reduce Excess Body Fat
Among a group of people who had early stage macular degeneration, those who were overweight had twice the likelihood that it would get worse. Those who lowered their waist size reduced their risk. See how you can determine if you carry excess body fat. Then if you do, see our list of weight loss methods proven most effective.
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