National Post (Latest Edition)



- ANDY DE SANTIS Straight talk on health, illness and recovery. Get better.

Vision tends to decline with age, especially after 65. but when it comes to your eyes, there are a few factors you can influence.

The eyes, as you might imagine, are a very sensitive organ and are particular­ly vulnerable when issues like high blood pressure and high blood sugar aren’t well controlled.

This is partly due to the fact that the blood vessels in that region of the body are very sensitive to any abnormalit­ies in the blood flowing through them.

Along aside age and smoking, type 2 diabetes is actually a leading risk factor for visual impairment.

About five per cent of Canadians suffer from some form of visual impairment and nearly half of Canadians surveyed have a family member who suffers from one of the four most common eye conditions. These include:

Age-related macular degenerati­on: A disorder where a person’s sharp, central vision slowly worsens, making it more difficult to read or see fine details.

Glaucoma: A form of optic nerve damage, largely caused by increased pressure in the eye, than can lead to vision loss.

Cataracts: A clouding of the lens of the eye, which often happens with age.

Diabetic retinopath­y: damage to blood vessels of the retina because of diabetes.

According to the Canadian Associatio­n Of Optometris­ts, three in four causes of vision loss are either treatable or preventabl­e with early interventi­on. And a big part of prevention and management of eye conditions comes down to nutrition.

The human eye is very vulnerable to damage that is caused by a poor diet, which may increase the body’s state of inflammati­on.

This explains why the nutrients most strongly associated with good eye health are all strong antioxidan­ts.

A diet high in these nutrients will protect the eyes from damage over time and very likely decrease the chance of dealing with visual impairment as you age. Some worth mentioning are:

❚ Vitamin C. This common vitamin is found in richest supply in foods such as citrus fruit, mango, kiwi, strawberri­es, broccoli, kale, brussels sprout and spinach. Vegans and vegetarian­s should combine vitamin C rich foods with those that are iron-rich, such as nuts, seeds, legumes and whole grains to help improve iron absorption.

❚ Vitamin e. Foods we typically classify as “healthy fats,” such as almonds, sunflower seeds, avocado, trout, shrimp and olive oil, are good sources of vitamin e. broccoli, spinach, kiwi and squash are also sources. Many of the foods that are high in both vitamin e and C are also naturally high in potassium, useful to fight back against high blood pressure and further protects against eye damage.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada