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Your Health and Your Eyes
Eye exams can detect much more than refractive errors; they can help to detect high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol and even brain tumors. Check out our "A Closer Look" video on that shows the various ways that an eye doctor can see things you can't.
Eye exams are the best way to ensure healthy vision for you and your family. But, there are some behaviors that you can perform everyday to make your eyes, and your whole body, healthier. The information below can help you if you decide you want to take some small steps towards a lifetime of healthy vision.
Cigarette smoke enhances oxidants, which are the chemical byproducts in the body that can damage cells, including those in the eyes. There are strong links between several diseases of the eye and smoking. In fact, smokers have double the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD) compared to those who do not smoke. The millions of people who have AMD ,or the signs that appear before the disease is diagnosed, need to be aware that smoking is a major risk for this disease. Smoking can cause severe vision loss, even for passive smokers. This is why eye exams are so important for people that smoke. If you are interested in learning more about how to quit smoking, visit www.becomeanex.org to re-learn life without cigarettes.
According to the American Dietetic Association, antioxidants are dietary substances including some nutrients that can prevent damage to your body cells or repair damage that has been done. Antioxidants can be found in fruits and vegetables, nuts and whole grains. Researchers have found that people who eat less than the recommended daily amount of fruits and vegetables were much more likely to develop cataracts . Visit www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org to discover more reasons to eat fruits and vegetables.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Dark leafy greens and foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids (like fish and some nuts) are especially important in preventing vision problems, such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD). According to a study published in the May 2007 issue of Archives of Ophthalmology, eating fish can decrease the risk of developing AMD by as much as forty percent.
Working out can help you lose weight as well as reduce harmful inflammation throughout the body, even in your eyes. A recent study found that people who maintained an active lifestyle were 70 percent less likely to develop age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Recent studies have found significant evidence that links obesity to several other major eye diseases that cause blindness, including cataracts, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma. If you are new to exercise, you may want to read The American Heart Association’s ‘Top 10 Tips for Starting a Physical Activity Program’.
Hypertension (high blood pressure) can affect your eyesight and cause eye disease. Eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly and reducing sodium intake can help you maintain healthy blood pressure levels.
*All content on this page has been approved by The Better Vision Institute – the medical advisory panel of The Vision Council.