FIVE STEPS TO MAINTAINING YOUR MACULAR HEALTH
Macular health is not usually part of our daily conversation until it is too late.
Here’s the bad news.
Macular Degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss, affecting more than 10 million Americans – more than cataracts and glaucoma combined.
The good news is there are five basic steps you can take to protect your eyes from Macular Degeneration.
1. Refrain from smoking
• Smoking provokes oxygen deficiency to your tissues and reduces choroidal blood flow
• Smoking reduces the density of crucial macular pigments
• Smoking decreases the absorption and effectiveness of Vitamin E, and caretonoids, such as Lutein and Zeaxanthin
2. Wear sunglasses with UV400 blocker and polarization (both lens surfaces), at all times when outdoors, during daylight hours, including when you are driving. Please visit our Optical Center to learn more!
3. Take AREDS 2 Vitamin supplementations, such as Ocuvite 50+ or Preservision.
Why? They contain six key active ingredients, which you can get by taking one pill or by incorporating the specified dietary sources.
LUTEIN and ZEAXANTHIN
Two of the carotenoids, Lutein, and Zeaxanthin, are pigments contained in the cell body of the photoreceptors, therefore called “macular pigment.” The macular pigments protect the eye from oxidative damage and improve visual function.
Dietary Source: spinach, egg yolks, and red bell peppers
VITAMIN C and VITAMIN E
Protect against oxidative damages to macular pigments
Dietary Sources of Vitamin C: Citrus fruits, apples, bananas, and berries
Dietary Source of Vitamin E: Whole wheat, soy, beans, nuts, and broccoli
ZINC and COPPER
Zinc plays multiple important roles in our ocular health. Zinc should be consumed with appropriate quantities of copper, which negates or minimizes toxicity from excessive zinc.
Dietary source of Zinc: Wheat germ, pumpkin seeds, eggs, liver, and beef
Dietary sources of Copper: Beans, Nuts, chocolate, meat, and whole grain wheat
4. Increase your consumption of alpha omega-3 fatty acids
Dietary sources: salmon, mackerel, herring, snapper and Tilapia as well as hazelnuts, walnuts, linseed oil and flaxseed oil
5. Purchase ophthalmic lenses with “blue blocker” which minimizes transmission of Blue Light from digital devices including computers, tablets, smartphones, fluorescent bulbs, and sun exposure. 95% of Americans spend two or more hours every day on digital devices which is harmful to your eyes. If you want to learn more about minimizing Blue Light, read our blog about it!
Macular health may not be your daily focus but be sure you and your ophthalmologist have a conversation on the topic as part of your annual exam.
Annual exams can be a sight-saver. Isn’t that enough of a reason to schedule one a year?
If you would like to learn more about macular health, go to our Macular Degeneration page.