Keep your eyesight sharp for life!
Think it’s inevitable that your vision will get fuzzier over time? Not so! While age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a breakdown of eye tissues, is the top cause of vision loss in folks over 50, these key steps can go a long way to preventing it!
Breakfast on eggs!
Egg yolks are rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants that are vital for protecting your retinas against the harmful UV light that leads to macular degeneration. In fact, one study of middle-aged and elderly people showed that consuming high amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin each day reduced the risk of age-related macular degeneration 43%.
Eat sweet potatoes!
A single sweet potato contains a whopping 114 g. of beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant that supports eye health. “Oxidative stress is at the root of age-related macular degeneration, and antioxidants have the potential to slow or even stop the progression of this disease,” says University of Georgia researcher James Stringham, PH.D. Tip: Pairing beta-carotene-rich foods like sweet potatoes and carrots with 1 tsp. of butter, olive oil, cheese or another fat per meal significantly increases absorption of the nutrient.
Snack on peanuts!
“Zinc plays a vital role in enabling your body’s production of melanin, a protective pigment in the eyes,” Stringham says—yet many of us don’t get enough of this essential mineral in our diets! The good news: Simply eating more zinc-rich foods each day is study-proven to slow the development of macular degeneration and keep vision sharp even in older folks. In addition to peanuts, foods high in zinc include pumpkin seeds, cashews and pecans. Taking a 25-mg. daily supplement works, too.
“Smokers have twice the risk of developing macular degeneration,” Stringham reveals. And while nicotine is what makes cigarettes addictive, it isn’t what puts your eyes at risk for AMD. It’s the tars and toxins in cigarette smoke that are damaging. That’s why using an over-the- counter form of nicotine replacement therapy, such as nicotine patches or gum, is a great option for weaning yourself off cigarettes and keeping your eyes healthy for years to come!
Get regular checkups!
Catching and treating any retinal abnormalities early is the best way to prevent macular degeneration and safeguard your sight. “The health of the retina is incredibly important because if special cells called photoreceptors are damaged or die, they cannot regenerate,” says Stringham.