Many people lose their eyesight to chronic illnesses like diabetes, yet type 2 diabetes is preventable in many cases. Your eyesight is something that allows you to see the world and as important as it is, we often take it for granted. Dr. Kimberly Reed is the founder and director of the Ocular Nutrition Clinic at Nova Southeastern University’s Eye Care Institute. Her specialty is not only treating ocular disease, but pharmacology, nutrition, but helping educate people about eye health.
LIKE DailyVitamina.com on Facebook! Get Your Daily Vitamin…FOR LIFE!
The fact is that the majority of our healthcare budget is spent on treating sick people, but there’s not enough focus on preventative measures and education. “If we were to put that into balance, then we might be able to prevent an enormous amount of disease, debilitation and vision loss, especially in our elderly population,” explains Dr. Reed. About 50% of our health comes from or daily habits and lifestyle choices that we make, including nutrition, she adds.
Proper food and nutrition is essential and it gives you a better chance for good eye vision as you age. Some of the foods that are good for eye health are leafy greens, such as spinach and kale that contain lutein, which is good for your eyes. “We need about 10mg of lutein every single day and less than 10% of Americans get their daily dose of eye nutrients,” explains Dr. Reed. Colorful vegetables like orange and yellow peppers, pumpkin, and berries contain a lot of nutrients that are really good for eye protection. Vitamin C, which is found in citrus and vitamin E is found in nuts and seeds can also offset cataracts.
If you’re not perfect in your eating, which most of us are not, then you should take a good quality supplement now. Taking a supplement that contains lutein and selenium will give you a chance for better vision, rather than if you wait until you’re 75. “Many people think that taking a multivitamin will help fill in the gaps, and this is true to a certain extent because a multivitamin has so many ingredients, but it varies from person to person. The supplement that you need will depend on the nutrients that you’re eating regularly. “It’s hard for the average consumer to educate themselves on which supplement is best for them, which is why it’s a good idea to consult with your eye doctor or general physician in order for them to recommend what’s best for each person,” she says.
Many times we forget, but the way we lead our lives is very important to our health. This is why doctors emphasize that patients keep a healthy weight and adapt healthy habits. “People that carry extra fat have more eye problems than those that don’t because fat creates inflammation in your body, so keeping a healthy weight and low body fat content will also reduce your chances of developing glaucoma, cataracts, and macular degeneration,” says Dr. Reed. In addition, keeping a healthy weight can also keep other conditions away. Seventy-five percent of high blood pressure and diabetes cases are linked to being overweight or obese. What’s good for your body is good for your eyes, so everything that you think is detrimental to your health, like smoking and drinking is definitely bad for your eyes, she adds. When we talk about eye health, there is a very direct correlation with people’s brains because the eyes are an extension of the brain. If you smoke you increase your chances of getting cataracts by 34%, so it’s very dangerous and detrimental to your vision.
In addition to eating right and keeping a healthy lifestyle, it’s important to take the necessary measures to take care of your eyes. We live in a society where we’re constantly on our phones, tablets, or sitting in front of our computer. “The blue light that is transmitted through the screen is potentially dangerous and even though there are limited studies about the dangers of blue light, it’s recommended that we limit screen time,” explains Dr. Reed.
The nutrients that you ingest, collect on the lens of your eyes and act as a sunscreen and protect the outer layers of the eye from UV rays damage that we get from the sun and blue light from screens. Technology has advanced so much that now you can purchase glasses that protect your eyes from the screen light. Also, always remember to wear sunglasses, even on cloudy days because UV rays are out there, even though you can’t see them. Young children should also wear hats and glasses when they’re outside because the earlier you prevent damage to your eyes, the better.
Don’t take your eyes for granted and start working on developing healthy eating habits and lifestyle choices that will help you lead a healthier life and vision.