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Lifestyle Choices to help Prevent Vision Loss from Eye Disease

What can you do to reduce your risk for cataracts and macular degeneration?

Lots! Wise lifestyle choices can have a huge impact on the risk for most chronic diseases. Basically, anything that is heart healthy will reduce your risk for just about all other disease processes, including eye disease. Here are the top seven things you can do.

  1. Don't Smoke - Smoking greatly increases the risk for cataracts and macular degeneration (and just about every other disease process you can think of). It is never too late to stop smoking and the health benefits of quitting are significant and definitely worth it.
     

  2. Eat Smart - Have a diet low in saturated and trans fats (read labels!). Consume lots of vegetables and fruits on a regular basis, It's important to have a wide variety of vegetables and fruits, but green leafy vegetables like spinach seem to be especially beneficial in reducing the risk for macular degeneration.
     

  3. Maintain Appropriate Body Weight - Believe it not, being overweight or obese significantly increases the risk for cataract and macular degeneration.
     

  4. Take a Good Multivitamin Daily - There is growing evidence that getting appropriate levels of vitamins and minerals daily reduces the risk for many diseases, including cataract and macular degeneration. A recent study published in the June 2002 Journal of the American Medical Association concluded "We recommend that all adults take a multivitamin daily." Taking an omega 3 supplement (fish oil or flax seed oil) is also highly recommended.
     

  5. Get Sensible Exercise on a Regular Basis - We are much too sedentary. It is important to walk briskly on a regular basis. Regular cardiovascular and weight bearing exercises reduce the risk for most chronic diseases, including eye diseases.
     

  6. Protect Your Eyes from Ultraviolet Light Exposure - Ultraviolet (UV) exposure increases the risk for cataract and macular degeneration. You are exposed to UV whenever you are outdoors during the day, rain or shine, all year around. Whenever you are outside during the day, you should wear eye protection that shields you from UV. Clear lenses or sun lenses can be made to give 100 percent protection from UV. Wearing a hat with a brim or a cap with a visor also helps protect your eyes from UV. It is especially important for children to wear UV protection. Eighty percent of total lifetime UV exposure takes place prior to age 18.
     

  7. Have Periodic Preventive Eye Exams - Most serious eye diseases have no symptoms whatsoever. Because of this, many people suffer needless vision loss that could have been prevented. Routine preventive eye exams increase the likelihood of early detection and treatment of sight threatening eye disease, making it possible to prevent such vision loss. Routine check-ups are one of the best ways to protect your vision and eye health. If you haven't had an eye exam in a while, consider having one soon and regularly thereafter.

 

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Eating leafy greens, such as spinach, on a regular basis is a smart choice that helps reduce the risk for macular degeneration.

Sun lenses can provide up to 100% UV Protection.

Regular, sensible exercise reduces the risk for most chronic diseases, including eye disease.

Preventive eye exams increases early detection and treatment of sight threatening eye disease.
 
 

Lifetime Eyecare Center
Dr. James M. Hutchins
105 Main Street West
Sleepy Eye, MN 56085
Phone: 507-794-2126