6 Ways to Prevent Loss of Vision

by Dr. Julian Whitaker
Filed Under: Vision Health
Last Reviewed 02/20/2014

6 Ways to Prevent Loss of Vision

Nearly 30 million Americans have cataracts, glaucoma, retinopathy and/or macular degeneration, all of which can lead to permanent loss of vision.  Although these conditions crop up with increasing frequency as we age, they are by no means normal or inevitable.

How to Prevent Loss of Vision

  1. Get moving. Researchers in the U.K. found that higher levels of physical activity have a long-term beneficial impact on low ocular perfusion pressure (OPP), a significant risk factor for glaucoma. More specifically, study participants who had exercised moderately 15 years previously had a 25 percent reduced risk of low OPP.

  2. Eat foods high in antioxidants. Free-radical damage is the key mechanism in the development of cataracts and other eye conditions, so one of the best ways to prevent loss of vision is with antioxidants. Increase your intake of these important nutrients by eating more vegetables and fruits, especially dark, leafy greens. In one study, men who ate cooked spinach twice a week had half the risk of cataract surgery as those who ate it less than once a month. Other foods linked to reduced risk include broccoli, tomatoes, melons and citrus fruits.

  3. Boost your magnesium levels. Studies show that people with the lowest levels of magnesium are the most likely to have severe diabetic retinopathy. Start by adding more magnesium-rich foods to your diet. The best sources are whole grains, nuts and seeds, tofu and green leafy vegetables. And reduce your intake of alcohol and caffeine, which deplete your body of magnesium. I also recommend taking 500–1,000 mg of supplemental magnesium per day to protect against loss of vision.

  4. Include one whole egg in your daily diet. Lutein and zeaxanthin are two nutrients (called carotenoids) that are concentrated in the macula. One good source of these carotenoids is egg yolks. In fact, one study found that eating six eggs per week increased density of the macular pigment and raised blood levels of zeaxanthin, but had no effect on cholesterol.

  5. Quit smoking. Smoking triples risk of cataracts and quadruples risk of macular degeneration.

  6. Take supplements for vision health, along with a quality daily multivitamin, for extra support.

Now it’s your turn: What do you do to protect vision health?

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