First at Four: Protect your eyesight as you age

First at Four: Protect your eyesight as you age
Our eyesight gets worse as we age but there are things you can do to help preserve your vision. (Source: WECT)

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Your eyesight can worsen as you age. The leading cause of vision loss is age-related macular degeneration (AMD) for those over the age of 60.

Dr. Rasika Whitesell of MyEyeDr. said there are several factors that increase the risk of macular degeneration, including age, family history and lifestyle factors.

Here are a few healthy habits she recommends to help protect your eyes from it:

1. Don't smoke—choose not to smoke. Several research studies suggest smoking can likely increase deterioration of the macular due to the increased chemical compounds in the bloodstream, reducing blood and oxygen flow to the eye.

2. Diet—eat a diet rich in green, leafy vegetables, fruit and fish high in omega-3 fatty acids. Avoid processed snack foods and soft drinks. Vitamins and supplements like lutein, zeaxanthin, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids can also offer positive health benefits for your eyes by supplying nutrients you may not be getting in your diet.

3. Exercise—make it a goal to incorporate at least 30 minutes of exercise into your everyday routine for optimized health. Healthy weight and normal blood pressure levels are key to improving your overall health, including your eyes.

4. Sport the shades—wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from harmful UV rays, even in the winter months.

5. Stay informed—consult with your optometrist to arrange bi-annual eye exams if you have symptoms or a family history of macular degeneration.

Although no cure for macular degeneration currently exists, treatments are available to help manage the disease.

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