Are you Protect Your Vision Against Macular Degeneration as You Age

Since last week after I wrote concerning being a part of the Sandwich Generation, I can not appear to induce my very own folks, and their advancing age, out of my mind. And having simply spent four days with my 80-year-old mum created it sink in even a lot of. While she’s lucky to not be affected by any major health problem like Alzheimer’s, cancer, polygenic disorder, or disorder, there is one major impediment to her everyday enjoyment of life: she has age-related macular degeneration, a disease that gradually destroys vision and is caused by the deterioration of the central portion of the retina, known as the macula. It’s this portion, within the within a back layer of the attention, that records the images we see and sends them (via the optic nerve) from the eye to the brain.

My mother will now not decipher a newspaper, book, or label. She is stripped of the power to relish the variability of colors in sunsets, admire the main points that shine in inventive creations, or marvel over the fine nuances of her great-grandchildren’s ever-changing features as they morph from infancy into toddlerhood. She can no longer sit behind the wheel of a car but must be relegated to the passenger seat, and quite often she sees the world through a haze of wavy lines and hallucinations of geometric shapes.

More than ten million Americans square measure plagued by degeneration. Scary, since it’s now not simply our folks United Nations agency are becoming sidelined with the disease: it is the leading reason behind vision defect for individuals aged fifty-five and older. As the boomer population ages, thus can the speed of individuals United Nations agency square measure affected with degeneration. While the exact causes are not known, what is known is that age increases the chances of contracting the condition.

Each year after I visit my oculist, I inform her of my mother’s deteriorating sight, aware that there could be a genetic link. “Is there anything I should be doing?” I ask, hoping that her answer will change from the one she gave me the year before (that is, eating a well-balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruits and veggies, keeping current with my annual checkups, not smoking, and staying active). It all makes me feel so helpless and out of control; after all, the condition is downright frightening. Though treatable with drugs and/or surgery, it is not reversible.

But this morning, right after driving my mother home, I came back to my office and came upon some encouraging new information about vision loss and nutrition. (When something is not curable, any bit of new information takes on the label of “encouraging,” no?) Several nutrients, including zinc and omega-3 fatty acids, were linked to a lower risk of developing macular degeneration in the people who ate the highest amounts in their diets, researchers found.

When the researchers studied individuals over age fifty-five United Nations agency had one among the 2 genes contributive to degeneration, they found that for one type of gene variation, people who got the most zinc, beta carotene, omega-3 fatty acids or lutein/zeaxanthin in their diets were less likely to develop the condition than the people who had a low intake of those nutrients. And for people who had the opposite form of cistron variation, two nutrients— zinc and omega-3— were associated with a lower risk.

There’s no got to eat vast amounts, either: the government-recommended daily allowances square measure adequate. That’s 1.1 grams of omega-3s and 8 milligrams of zinc daily (for women). The amounts for men are a bit higher.

What foods are high in zinc? Oysters, red meat, toasted wheat germ, dark chocolate and cocoa powder, nuts, and beans.

What foods are high in omega-3 fatty acids? Flaxseeds, walnuts, scallops, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, halibut, and tuna.

What foods are high in beta carotene? Carrots, sweet potatoes, broccoli, spinach, green peppers, apricots, and cantaloupe.

What foods are high in lutein and zeaxanthin? Eggs, leafy greens, Brussels sprouts, kale, and collard greens.

This matters: If you’re older than 50 and have noticed a change in your central vision, see your ophthalmologist. There are two tests— aside from your normal eye exam— that can be performed. In one, you look at a checkerboard-like a grid, called an Amsler grid. One eye is covered as you look with your other eye at a black dot in the center. If the lines are wavy or missing, this could signal a problem. Another test, which can pinpoint leaky blood vessels in your eye by injecting a dye into your arm and taking pictures as the dye reaches the blood vessels in the retina, may be performed as well.