February is Macular Degeneration Awareness Month. Macular Degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss, affecting more than 10 million Americans – more than cataracts and glaucoma combined.
At present, Macular Degeneration is considered an incurable eye disease.
Macular Degeneration is caused by the deterioration of the central portion of the retina, the inside back layer of the eye that records the images we see and sends them via the optic nerve from the eye to the brain. The retina’s central portion, known as the macula, is responsible for focusing central vision in the eye, and it controls our ability to read, drive a car, recognize faces or colors, and see objects in fine detail.
As part of our month-long focus on healthy aging, we’re sharing some information about how a healthy diet promotes more than just healthy living. While it should come as no surprise that the foods you eat have a direct impact on the health of your eyes, do you know what foods you should be eating for good eye health? Here’s a hint, it’s not just carrots! We’ve created a list of several foods that have the best benefit for your eyes so you can plan better meals for you and your family.
Leafy Greens: Collards are a southern tradition, but they’re also a source of Lutein and Zeaxathin, two key antioxidants that may help prevent the age-related eye diseases, macular degeneration and cataracts. Other leafy greens are rich sources of theses antioxidants as well. So the next time you’re at the farmer’s market, be sure to stock up on plenty of kale, spinach, romaine lettuce, turnip greens, and more.
Oranges, Grapefruit Juice, Broccoli, Etc.: We all know that vitamin C helps boost our immune system, but it can also help protect against cataracts and macular degeneration. Oranges and orange juice are loaded with vitamin C, and Grapefruit Juice, while not as potent as oranges, still pack a strong punch. In fact, there are tons of fruits and veggies full of this powerful vitamin. The more you add into your diet, the better chance you have in avoiding those age-related eye diseases.
Fish: Fish are chalk-full of essential fatty acids (or amino acids) that are the building blocks of good muscle growth. But those fatty acids also play a key role in the continued development of your eyes. They help with things like retinal function and can even protect against dry eye. Not every fish has the same benefit, so make sure you’re loading up on salmon, tuna, and mackerel at the market.
Almonds and Other Nuts: Nuts are loaded with vitamin E, which protects your eye from the slow deterioration of your sight from diseases like cataracts and macular degeneration. In fact, almonds are so packed with vitamin E, that one ounce can account for almost 1/3 of your daily recommended intake. In addition to their high vitamin E content, almonds and nuts make a great nutritious snack during the day. They can stave off those hunger cravings without leaving you feel groggy around 3 o’clock.
Any physician or dietitian will tell you to make these foods part of your regular diet, as they are essential to maintaining a good overall health. But most folks aren’t aware of the benefits they offer to your eyes as well. Many of the same nutrients, vitamins and antioxidants that improve our overall health have a similar benefit for our eyes. Knowing which foods will give you the biggest benefits is essential to making sure you can avoid many age-related eye disease, such as cataracts and macular degeneration. So the next time you visit your local farmers market or head to the grocery store, make sure to load up on the foods in this list to keep seeing everything life has to offer for years to come.
To learn more about what foods can help you, and to test yourself for cataracts, macular degeneration and other age-related eye diseases, contact us, AECPEC, today at 1-800-755-7535 and let us show you what we have been missing!