Today’s Vision wants you to know that a healthy diet and other behavior choices may reduce your risk for serious eye conditions such as macular degeneration and cataracts.

Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of irreversible blindness in those over the age of 65. Cataracts are also afflicting aging Americans; nearly half of those age 65 and older already have them. The majority of cataracts are associated with the aging process and excessive exposure to the sun also contributes to cataracts.

Studies indicate that you can reduce your risk for these eye conditions by avoiding diets high in saturated and trans fat, and increasing your consumption of fruits and vegetables (especially the yellow and leafy green variety).

Lutein and Zeaxanthin – these plant chemicals work as potent antioxidants that protect eyes from free radical damage. Eating fruits and vegetables that are high in lutein and zeaxanthin have been found to increase their concentration in the blood and in the eye. Unfortunately, the average American only consumes 1/6 of the amount recommended to prevent eye disease. The good news is that these nutrients are abundant in foods such as:
– Kale, Collard Greens, and Spinach
– Brussels Sprouts
– Egg yolks
– Corn
– Avocado
– Pistachios
– Goji berries
– Orange peppers
– Kiwi
– Grapes
– Orange juice
– Squash (zucchini)

Eating fatty fish (salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel, and trout) may also help. In one study, people who ate fatty fish at least once a week were 50% less likely to develop AMD. Those who consumed four ounces of fatty fish or more per day were 70% less likely to experience AMD.

Also get plenty of rest, exercise, and be sure to buy and wear sunglasses that shield you from the sun’s damaging rays. Ask your eye doctor about a new lens from Zeiss that offers protection from “blue light” emitted from mobile device screens. You may also want to consult with your eye doctor about taking a vitamin supplement that provides plenty of lutein, zeaxanthin, and other key nutrients that support eye health, especially if you don’t eat many of the foods listed above.