EYES AND LIFESTYLE
By 2050, the number of people suffering from “popular” diseases like cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy will double. And half the population will become near-sighted. Where’s all the progress? Many believe that all these problems are a matter of age. So are there any recommendations on how to reduce the likelihood of discovering such an unpleasant surprise? Or do we just sit on our hands and wait?
There are recommendations, but there’s nothing sensational about them, and furthermore no one follows them. The simplest is to regularly get your eyes checked. Sounds boring, but it’s the best way to determine if there’s a problem. You might think everything’s alright and then find out you’re sadly mistaken. With all the collective experience at BEI and our phenomenal technique, you can be sure we’ll check everything.
As a journalist writing about ophthalmology, I am often asked about nutrition. How should I answer? Does it even have any impact on eyesight?
Some will exaggerate this as a variable, while others understate it. Everyone knows about beta-carotene, but there are other useful foods. A good diet rich in fruits and greens, especially dark-leafed greens like collards, leafy cabbage, and spinach, contains the antioxidants lutein and zeaxthanin, which according to some data can push back the onset of cataracts. Laboratory research shows that grapes seem to positively affect the retina, slowing age-related macular degeneration. But I want to remind you, than after the problem begins it cannot be treated with grapes. Other good foods for the eyes are fish rich in omega-3s like salmon, halibut, mackerel, sardines, and tuna. It’s possible that these acids can lessen the inflammatory process and symptoms associated with dry eye.
It’s clear that the eyes don’t exist unto themselves, but as part of the entire organism. Is there any other advice?
This will hardly surprise anyone, but recall the connection between obesity and diabetes, which can lead to loss of vision. It’s never too late to pull yourself together, start controlling your food intake, and perform physical activity. At a university in Australia, and another in Britain, they discovered that significant weight loss can reverse the damage caused by diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity. Another study, the results of which were presented at the Congress of the American Ophthalmology Academy, says that physically-active people are 73% less likely to have glaucoma than those with sedentary lifestyles.
And should we wear sunglasses, or is it better to allow the eyes to be nourished by the sunlight?
“Nourishment” from direct sunlight can cause serious problems. And more important than sunglasses and their style are their function in blocking ultraviolet rays. Polls in 2016 showed that 75% of Americans are aware of this, but only wear proper sunglasses 30% of the time. Never put style above safety. Sunglasses should block 99-100% of ultraviolet rays. And if you want style as well as function, we offer them at Bella Optique, where we have some of the best sunglasses in the world.
Onto our last topic – for those of use that are held hostage by the computer, how do we protect our sight?
If you’re at the monitor for days at a time, don’t forget to blink – this will prevent eye fatigue at the end of the day. There’s also the rule of 20-20-20: every 20 minutes, take your eyes off the screen and look at an object 20 feet away from you for 20 seconds.