The ability to see the world and people around us is powerful. Good vision gives us independence, improves our balance, keeps our brains sharp, and protects us in dangerous situations. As great as the sense of sight is, it is something that most of us take for granted.
Many vision loss conditions, like macular degeneration and glaucoma, worsen and become noticeable later in life. Those over the age of 40 are at a higher risk of glaucoma, while seniors are especially at risk for vision changes and vision loss due to macular degeneration (the leading cause of vision loss for those 60 and older).
Eating an eye-healthy diet is important for seniors to help prevent or slow vision loss due to macular degeneration and glaucoma. Below are brief definitions of macular degeneration and glaucoma and foods seniors should eat and avoid for optimal eye health.What is Macular Degeneration?
What is Macular Degeneration?
Macular degeneration involves the wearing down of the part of the retina, called the macula. The retina is a nerve in the back of the eye that senses light. Macular degeneration does not typically cause complete blindness, but it can cause severe vision loss. As this eye condition typically progresses with age, it is often called age-related macular degeneration (AMD). There are two types of AMD: dry and wet, with the former being the more common of the two. Many do not know they have AMD until they notice their vision is blurry.
What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is the result of damage to the optic nerve from excessive fluid pressure in the eye. This nerve sends messages to the brain that allows us to interpret what we see. Glaucoma is often hereditary, though trauma to the eye can damage the optic nerve. Unlike macular degeneration, glaucoma puts an individual at a greater risk of vision loss or total blindness.
Not sure if you or your loved ones are at risk?
Below are several indicators that might mean a change in habits should be considered:
|Those at risk for macular degeneration||Those at risk of glaucoma|
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Foods That Fight Macular Degeneration and Glaucoma
You may not be able to reverse vision loss from macular degeneration or glaucoma, but some minerals and foods can boost eye health and help slow the progression of both eye conditions. A nutrient-rich diet, such as the Mediterranean diet, strengthens the eyes and boosts overall health. Some eye-healthy vitamins and minerals include: Vitamins A, C, and E, Lutein, Zeaxanthin, Omega-3, Zinc and Copper. Look for foods that are rich in these items such as:
Dark, leafy greens
Yellow fruits and vegetables
Nuts and seeds
Tribute offers a real-foods Smoothie Program that not only utilizes all of these nutritional foods for meals but also incorporates them with herbs, vitamins and minerals to maximize health benefits as opposed to some of the prepackaged nutritional drinks that are high in sugars and preservatives. Find out more about our immune boosting Smoothie Program.
Foods That Can Worsen Macular Degeneration and Glaucoma
Foods associated with obesity are known to be bad for your eyes, making your eyes more vulnerable to macular degeneration and glaucoma. The Western diet, consisting of processed, sugary, high-saturated fat foods, should be avoided to promote good eye health. Specifically, stay away from:
High-fat dairy foods
Margarine and butter
Soda and alcohol
Sugary pastries like cookies, cake, and donuts
Even with a healthy diet, one can still develop age-related eye problems that result in reduced or lost vision. Genetics, smoking, and a lack of exercise also increase the risk of vision problems. That does not mean that you should ignore your diet due to these conditions, but you should be aware of how they can affect your overall health and vision.
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