Keep your eye­sight sharp for life!

Woman's World - - Contents - —Kal­lie E. Kris­tensen

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.

Stop smok­ing!

“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.

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