Eye Disease Information. Eye disorders and diseases are common in Canadians over the age of 50. As the “baby boom” generation ages, there could be a drain on organizations that serve the visually impaired. Many thousands of Canadian seniors may become legally blind, as they fall prey to diseases such as diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration, or glaucoma.
There has been a recent explosion of information about eye health. New treatments are being developed all the time to treat the symptoms of these diseases, but it should also be a priority to make Canadians aware of how to better prevent eye disorders.
General Fitness – Eye Disease Information
Overall fitness not only helps to ensure healthy eyes, but it prevents or slows the progress of other diseases as well. Regular exercise can promote cardiovascular health, mental health, and can also build strength and endurance.
Obesity and diabetes are two big risk factors for the development of eye disease. People who follow a regular exercise regimen and who refrain from smoking are far less likely to be either obese or to develop Type II diabetes or heart disease. High cholesterol and high blood fat also put up danger signals regarding eye health. Again, regular exercise can help to combat these conditions.
Diet and Nutritional Supplements
A well-balanced and healthy diet is another facet of general good health. It’s important for eye health that one eats a diet rich in antioxidants, Omega-3 fatty acids, and green leafy vegetables such as kale and spinach. Foods such as saturated fats should be avoided.
It’s generally accepted that quality supplements may be necessary, as it’s not always possible to get the right combination of nutrients from diet alone. There are many supplements designed to promote eye health. Most of these contain Vitamins C, A, and E, betacarotene, zinc, and lutein.
An eye care professional can recommend supplements that are suitable for a particular patient’s needs. New supplements are being developed to help prevent and treat macular degeneration, for example.
Current research has shown that thinning of the macular pigment may be responsible for the damage caused to central vision in the advanced stage of macular degeneration. Supplements containing the substances that make up the macular pigment — lutein, zeaxanthin, and meso-zeaxanthin – may be indicated for patients at greatest risk.
A simple way to protect eye health is to purchase appropriate sun protection glasses. Excessive UV radiation is a risk factor for both cataracts and macular degeneration; blue light in particular can damage photoreceptor cells. Sunglasses should be large, in order to protect the eye from all sides.
They should filter 100% of UV rays, and have orange or red-orange lenses. Sunglasses should be polarized, to minimize horizontal glare. Wearing sunglasses is particularly important for people with light-coloured eyes, whose retinas absorb 100 times as many UV rays as the retinas of people with brown eyes.
Eye Examinations – Eye Disease Information
The early stages of eye disorders are often asymptomatic, so it’s important to schedule regular checkups. For people over forty, eye care professionals recommend eye tests every two years or more. The earlier a disorder is detected, the more effective treatment can be.
Baby boomers and Generation X patients should take the opportunity now to educate themselves about eye health. This may prompt them to take precautions to safeguard their vision into old age.