Updating Lifestyle Habits Can Improve Eye Health



According to the Macular Degeneration Partnership, more than 15 million Americans are affected by macular degeneration, a disease that occurs when fluid and/or deposits or pigment collect in the center of the retina and disrupt the structure of the macula, causing loss of function and ultimately leading to central vision loss for many. Without central vision, it can become impossible to do daily activities like reading text, driving a car or recognizing the finer details that were once in clear view. Individuals should schedule an annual eye exam to ensure early detection and protect their vision from the leading cause of vision loss and blindness in the United States.

There are several factors that increase the risk of macular degeneration occurrence, including age, family history and lifestyle factors. Of those, you have the most control over lifestyle factors, like whether or not you smoke and if you are of a healthy weight. MyEyeDr. practices use the newest technology during eye health exams to get to the root of your vision problems; however, there are several healthy habits to incorporate into your daily life to reap positive benefits for your vision:

  • Don’t smoke—choose not to smoke. Several research studies suggest smoking can likely increase deterioration of the macula due to the increased chemical compounds in the bloodstream, reducing blood and oxygen flow to the eye.
  • Diet—eat a diet rich in green, leafy vegetables, fruit and fish high in omega-3 fatty acids. Avoid processed snack foods and soft drinks. Vitamins and supplements like lutein, zeaxanthin, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids can also offer positive health benefits for your eyes by supplying nutrients you may not be getting in your diet.
  • Exercise—make it a goal to incorporate at least 30 minutes of exercise into your everyday routine for optimized health. Healthy weight and normal blood pressure levels are key to improving your overall health, including your eyes.
  • Sport the shades—wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from harmful UV rays, even in the winter months.
  • Stay informed—consult with your optometrist to arrange bi-annual eye exams if you have symptoms or a family history of macular degeneration.

Although no cure for macular degeneration currently exists, treatments are available to help manage the disease. The most common method is medication in the form of vitamins and supplements. For some patients, laser and photodynamic therapies are more appropriate.  They can reduce the amount of fluid that collects in the macula by destroying abnormal blood vessels and helping to reduce their formation.

“Approximately 200,000 new cases of macular degeneration occur annually,” said Dr. Artis Beatty, chief medical officer at MyEyeDr. “As the number one cause of legal blindness in Americans over age 60, age-related macular degeneration may show few symptoms until it reaches the intermediate and advanced stages. Make sure to schedule your annual eye exam and follow these tips to ensure optimal eye health.”

MyEyeDr. works closely with individuals to detect macular degeneration during the early stages to prevent further vision loss. Our trusted community doctors provide exceptional eye care services to all patients. To detect and treat macular degeneration and other vision issues early on, schedule your next eye exam.

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