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10 Ways to help prevent Age-Related Macular Degeneration

healthy senior coupleAsk your doctor about age-related macular degeneration (AMD)—the leading cause of severe vision loss for people over the age of 50. AMD has caused vision loss in over 2.7 million Americans and is on the rise.

1. Avoid:

  • Smoking
  • Weight gain
  • High glycemic index foods: The white fluffies (e.g. pasta, spaghetti, white bread, bakery products, white rice, potatoes)
  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Soda and sweetened drinks
  • Dairy products (cheese, milk, ice cream)
  • Artificial sweeteners including ingredients like aspartame (NutraSweet® and Equal®), sucralose (Splenda®), and saccharine (Sweet ‘n Low®)
  • Grain-fed meat
  • Trans fats
  • Environmental toxins like phthalates and pesticides

2. Eat foods with omega-3 and/or take supplements

  • Wild salmon, sardines, anchovies and mackerel
  • Omega-3 fish oil supplements. EPA + DHA should equal at least seventy percent of the total fish oil listed on the product (triglyceride form)

3. Anti-inflammatory diet/Paleo diet

  • Organic vegetables and organic fruits (berries) (3:1 vegetables to fruits)
  • Raw unsalted nuts and seeds, grass-fed hormone- and antibiotic-free meat, organic and hormone-free turkey and chicken, eggs, including yolk (from pasture-fed, hormone- and antibiotic-free chickens)
  • Healthy fats: avocado, olive oil, raw and unprocessed coconut oil—best for cooking

4. Eat foods that contain lutein and zeaxanthin

  • Dark green leafy vegetables (e.g. ½ cup raw spinach, kale and collard greens)
  • Goji berries, egg yolks, orange peppers, yellow peppers, oranges, peaches and bananas

5. Drink eight 8-ounce glasses of fluid throughout the day, preferably filtered water

6. Spices

  • Cinnamon, rosemary, oregano, garlic powder, Himalayan salt, curcumin, ginger and paprika

7. Vitamin D3: Optimal blood levels (25-hydroxy vitamin D levels 50–70 ng/ml)

  • Obtain a serum 25-hydroxy vitamin D measurement prior to determine if you should take a supplement. Obtain these measurements twice per year (summer and winter) during supplementation
  • It is important to take vitamin K2, along with vitamin D3, for proper calcium absorption

8. Stress reduction and regular exercise (consult your family doctor)

  • Sleep seven to eight hours every night

9. Recommended supplements for ocular nutrition:

  • MacuHealth® with LMZ3
  • EyePromise® Restore
  • Lutein
  • Zeaxanthin
  • Resveratrol with Pterostilbene
  • Astaxanthin

10. Recommended reading:

  • “Paleo Diet” by Loren Cordain, PhD (latest edition)
  • “Grain Brain” by David Perlmutter, MD
  • “Eat Right For Your Sight” by Jennifer Trainer Thompson and Johanna M. Seddon, MD
  • “The Real Paleo Diet Cookbook” by Loren Cordain, PhD

10 Foods to help prevent Age-Related Macular Degeneration

nutrition american woman pear apple greenWhich foods are the healthiest for your eyes?

What can you eat to help fight age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of vision loss in the United States in patients over age 50? Here are the top 10 recommended foods that can help support your vision:

  • Pastured Eggs:
    An excellent source of vitamins A, B12, and omega-3. They also contain lutein, 1 zeaxanthin, and the amino acid cysteine which all may reduce the risk of cataracts and AMD.
  • Leafy green vegetables:
    Brimming with vitamin C, calcium, beta-carotene, and the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin. Studies have shown that eating foods rich in lutein and zeaxanthin like spinach, kale, and collard greens, can increase the pigment density in the macula and lower the risk of AMD.
  • Garlic:
    Rich in sulfur, garlic is a natural lens protector that’s loaded with important antioxidants.
  • Green vegetables:
    Broccoli, bell peppers and Brussels sprouts all help provide a blast of vitamin C, a key antioxidant shown to help protect the eyes.
  • Wild salmon, sardines, anchovies, and mackerel:
    Certain fish are loaded with omega-3 fats which can help protect the tiny blood vessels in the eyes
  • Carrots:
    Carrots are loaded with beta-carotene, an antioxidant that helps reduce the risk of cataracts and AMD. Your body converts beta-carotene to vitamin A, which is used by the eye’s rods and cones to help the eye perceive light and color.
  • Goji berries:
    Raw goji berries are a great source of antioxidants and contain vitamin C, vitamin E, and fiber. Goji berries are also a great source of the carotenoid zeaxanthin.
  • Orange peppers:
    Contain the carotenoid zeaxanthin, which can increase the pigment density in the macula and lower the risk of AMD. They have more vitamin C than all other colored peppers, three times the amount of vitamin C as an orange, and the highest vegetable source of vitamin E.
  • Ostrich and turkey:
    Loaded with zinc—one of the key ingredients for maintaining healthy eyes. Turkey also provides the B-vitamin niacin, which helps protect against cataracts.
  • Sweet potatoes:
    Beta-carotene to the rescue once again, thanks to the sweet potato’s bright-orange flesh. In fact, sweet potatoes contain some of the highest amounts of beta-carotene of all the vegetables.

Pink, Stinging Eyes?

Conjunctivitis, also called pink eye, is one of the most frequently seen eye diseases, especially in kids. It can be caused by viruses, bacteria or even allergies to pollen, chlorine in swimming pools, and ingredients in cosmetics, or other irritants, which touch the eyes. Some forms of conjunctivitis might be quite transmittable and quickly spread in school and at the office.

Conjunctivitis is seen when the conjunctiva, or thin transparent layer of tissue covering the white part of the eye, becomes inflamed. You can identify conjunctivitis if you notice eye redness, discharge, itching or swollen eyelids and a crusty discharge surrounding the eyes early in the day. Pink eye infections can be divided into three main types: viral, allergic and bacterial conjunctivitis.

The viral type is usually a result of a similar virus to that which produces the recognizable red, watery eyes, sore throat and runny nose of the common cold. The red, itchy, watery eyes caused by viral pink eye are likely to last from a week to two and then will clear up on their own. You may however, be able to reduce some of the discomfort by using soothing drops or compresses. Viral pink eye is transmittable until it is completely cleared up, so in the meantime maintain excellent hygiene, remove eye discharge and try to avoid using communal pillowcases or towels. If your son or daughter has viral conjunctivitis, he or she will have to be kept home from school for three days to a week until symptoms disappear.

A bacterial infection such as Staphylococcus or Streptococcus is usually treated with antibiotic eye drops or cream. One should notice an improvement within just a few days of antibiotic drops, but be sure to adhere to the full prescription dosage to prevent pink eye from recurring.

Allergic pink eye is not contagious. It is usually a result of a known allergy such as hay fever or pet allergies that sets off an allergic reaction in their eyes. First of all, to treat allergic pink eye, you should eliminate the irritant. Use cool compresses and artificial tears to relieve discomfort in mild cases. When the infection is more severe, your eye doctor might prescribe a medication such as an anti-inflammatory or antihistamine. In cases of chronic allergic pink eye, topical steroid eye drops could be used.

Pink eye should always be diagnosed by a qualified eye doctor in order to identify the type and best course of treatment. Never treat yourself! Keep in mind the sooner you begin treatment, the lower chance you have of giving pink eye to loved ones or prolonging your discomfort.

 

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Learn about our Practice specialties including comprehensive eye exams, contact lens fittings and the treatment of eye diseases. Our website also offers you a convenient way to find our hours, address and map, schedule an appointment online, order contact lenses or contact us to ask us any questions you have about eye care and our Practice.

Have a look around our online office and schedule a visit to meet us in person. We are here to partner with you and your family for a lifetime of healthy eyes and vision. We look forward to seeing you!