The eyes are the windows to your soul. We observe beauty with our eyes. We learn about the world around us through our eyes. We express our emotions and feelings with our eyes, too. As we age, our eyes take a huge brunt from the environment. If we’re not careful and thoughtful about our lifestyle, our eyesight could be negatively affected.
Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) has become one of the leading causes of vision loss in people over age 55, with 2 million people in the US currently affected and another 7 million people at risk of developing the disease. AMD is expected to double by 2020.
Learning about this devastating disease will help all of us take proactive steps to maintaining our eye health.
Our eyes have something called macular pigment that absorbs harmful ultraviolet rays, and protect the cells in the retina that respond to light (called photoreceptors) from damage. The building blocks of macular pigment consist of Zeaxanthin and Lutein, the powerful antioxidants that protect our eyesight and boost our vision.
“Lutein and zeaxanthin act as “internal sunglasses”, providing protection against damaging light,” reports Stuart Richer, OD, PhD.
Regular intake of Zeaxanthin and Lutein, in the form of food and supplements, could contribute to visual performance in several ways.
#1 Improved Visual Acuity
This enables the eyes to clearly see detailed pictures.
#2 Increased Contrast Sensitivity
This is the ability of our eyes to clearly distinguish objects against any background.
#3 Lowered Light Sensitivity
Healthier macular pigment helps protect the eyes from the discomfort of bright sunlight.
#4 Speedier Glare Recovery
When exposed to a very bright light, such as sunshine and bright car lights at night, the recovery from momentary “blindness” is faster when macular pigment is boosted with sufficient amounts of Zeaxanthin and Lutein.
“The dietary carotenoids zeaxanthin and lutein protect the most important retinal real estate of the eye–-the macula–which allows us to see detail. It is therefore critical to maintain the quality and health of this area of retinal tissue in a modern society that depends upon using computer screens and driving automobiles, safely,” says Dr. Richer. Besides taking these important supplements, foods that ‘feed your eyes’ include parsley, spinach, kale, egg yolk.
Macular Degeneration (AMD) has no known panacea, but we can control risk factors that contribute to getting the disease. These include:
• Poor Diet
• High Body Mass Index (BMI), i.e, being overweight
• Low Macular Pigment, i.e., not enough foods and supplementation to maintain the healthy amounts of macular pigment
Hereditary risk factors that may contribute to Macular Degeneration (AMD) include:
• Family History
• Light skin and eyes
• Female gender
This post has been sponsored by EyePromise as part of #AMDawareness Month. All opinions are my own.