Healthy Eyes For Life
Philip J. Gross, OD Michele R. Haranin, OD A. Aaron Yatskevich, OD
Healthy eyes and clear vision is important to maintain the quality of life we all wish to enjoy as we age. Fortunately, there are some easy lifestyle changes we can make to achieve this goal.
A balanced diet including certain key nutrients is important to maintaining good ocular health.
Lutein and Zeaxanthine increase pigment that protects the macula, the part of the retina that allows 20/20 vision from blue wavelengths of light. This reduces the risk of macular degeneration. Lutein and Zeaxanthine are found in green leafy vegetables and eggs.
The antioxidant Vitamin C slows the formation of cataracts. It is found in many fruits and vegetables. Vitamin E is another potent antioxidant that protects cells in the eyes from unstable molecules called free radicals that break down healthy tissue. Nuts, sweet potatoes and fortified cereals are all good sources of Vitamin E.
Omega-3 fatty acids maintain the integrity of the nervous system, provides fuel to cells and aids the immune system. Visual development and retinal function rely on Omega-3 fatty acids.
Finally, Zinc is a trace mineral that plays a vital role in moving Vitamin A from the liver to the retina in order to produce melanin, a protective pigment in the eye that helps lower the risk of macular degeneration.
In addition to eating a healthy diet DON’T SMOKE! The noxious chemicals in smoke increase the risk of developing macular degeneration and cataracts, not to mention wrinkles.
Exercise regularly to increase oxygen to your eyes and remove harmful toxins. It not only benefits your eyes but your heart as well and helps maintain a healthy body weight. Obesity is a contributing factor in elevated intraocular pressure that may cause glaucoma as well as systemic diseases such as hypertension and diabetes.
Protecting our eyes from sun and short-wavelength light is important as well. Sun not only causes progression of cataracts, it is a significant risk factor for macular degeneration. Skin cancer is another good reason to wear sun protection. The delicate skin around the eyes is a common site for basal and squamous cell skin cancer.
Digital devices commonly used today as well as LED and fluorescent lights emit short-wavelengths of light in the blue spectrum. These wavelengths cause slow damage to the retina that may result in macular degeneration later in life. Special glasses and coatings are available to protect against these wavelengths for people who spend a significant amount of time on computers, tablets and cell phones. In this day and age that applies to most of us.
We cannot underestimate the importance of regular eye examinations. It allows us to reduce eye strain by making sure eyeglass prescriptions are up to date and the best lens type and materials are used to address each individual’s needs. Early detection and treatment of eye diseases allow the best opportunity to prevent vision loss. Most eye diseases don’t have visual symptoms until they are advanced. Please don’t ignore symptoms until it is too late. Symptoms such as a sudden onset of new floaters and flashing lights, loss of vision in any form, eye pain or red eyes warrant a call to your eye doctor. The sooner a problem is addressed, the better the outcome. Together we can do everything possible to keep your vision at its clearest for a lifetime.
Vision Quest Eye Care Center
820 Walker Road, Dover, DE 19904
Monday 9:30 AM – 6:30 PM
Tuesday 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM
Wednesday 8:30 AM – 4:30PM
Thursday 9:30 AM – 6:30PM
Friday 8:30 AM – 1:00 PM