Some eye popping statistics are that 4.25 million Canadians are currently living with a serious eye disease and the prevalence of vision loss in Canada is expected to increase nearly 30 per cent in the next decade!
And 1 in 7 Canadians will develop one of the four most common eye diseases in their lifetime including diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, cataracts & age-related macular degeneration.
The good news is there is a lot you can do including foods to eat more of and antioxidants you can take to reduce your odds of eye disease.
Keeping Healthy eyes include managing your screen time. Canadians spend 376 minutes a day looking at screens! My advice is to employ the 20-20-20 computer rule. Every 20 minutes, I want you to take a 20 second break and focus your eyes on something at least 20 feet away.
We need to protect our eyesight from the ultraviolet sun rays. UV protecting Sunglasses or UV eyewear and contacts are key to help in the prevention of cataracts and macular degeneration. Never wear cheap non UV blocking sunglasses as they dilate your pupils which will let even more ultraviolet radiation in!
Make smart diet choices – consume dark and leafy greens, such as spinach, kale and broccoli, sweet potatoes and squash, dried apricots as well as omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, nuts and seeds, and one of my favourites: Red Palm fruit oil which has a high smoke point which is great to grill and stir fry with but best of all rich in eye healthy carotenoids and Tocotrienols.
Sometimes supplementing your diet can help depending on your condition. You may want to research select products proven to support eye health such as Lutein, beta carotene, and zeaxanthin, astaxanthin, alpha lipoic acid, and omega-3 high in DHA
But, let’s unblur all the lines. Eye management 101 is about knowing when and who to see about eye care.
Keep in mind that factors like an increase in artificial light, more time spent looking at TVs, smart phones, and computer screens, more stress and fewer nutrients in diet may all contribute to a decline in eye health.
If you’re concerned about your eyes, speak to your family doctor. They may refer you to an optometrist, ophthalmologist, retina specialist, or even a natural health care provider to determine micronutrient deficiencies.
More on Cataracts:
Cataract is a cloudiness in the lens of the eye caused by damage to the protein of the lens. This damage impairs vision.
Most people who live long enough will develop cataracts.1 Cataracts are more likely to occur in those who smoke, have diabetes, or are exposed to excessive sunlight. All of these factors lead to oxidative damage. Oxidative damage to the lens of the eye appears to cause cataracts in animals2 and people.3
It is unlikely that any nutritional supplements or herbs can reverse existing cataracts, although it is possible they might help prevent cataracts from becoming worse.
Cataracts usually develop slowly without any pain or redness of the eye. The most common symptoms of a cataract are fuzzy or blurred vision, increasing need for light when reading or doing other close work, visual disturbances caused by bright lights (e.g., sunlight, car headlights), faded color perception, poor night vision, and frequent need to change eyeglass or contact lens prescriptions. A cataract will not spread from one eye to the other, although many people develop cataracts in both eyes.
Healthy Lifestyle Tips
Obese men are significantly more likely to develop a cataract than are men of normal body weight.4 To date, most,5, 6, 7, 8 but not all,9, 10 population studies have found an increased risk of cataracts as body mass increases.
Keep your lenses clear by limiting the damage that causes cataracts, a condition that produces cloudiness in the eyes. According to research or other evidence, the following self-care steps may be helpful.
More on Glaucoma:
The term glaucoma describes a group of eye conditions that are usually associated with increased intraocular pressure (pressure within the eyeball).
In many cases, the cause of glaucoma is unknown. Conventional medications are frequently effective in reducing intraocular pressure. Therefore, it is important for people with glaucoma to be under the care of an ophthalmologist.
Because glaucoma may not cause any symptoms until it has reached an advanced and irreversible stage, regular eye exams are recommended, especially after age 40. In the later stages, symptoms include loss of peripheral (side) vision, blurred vision, blind spots, seeing halos around lights, and poor night vision. If left untreated, glaucoma may cause blindness.
Look out for the health of your eyes—steer clear of this condition caused by pressure within the eyeball. According to research or other evidence, the following self-care steps may be helpful.
More on Macular Degeneration:
Macular degeneration is the degeneration of the macula retinae, also called the macula lutea, an oval disc on the retina in the back of the eye.
Degeneration of the macula retinae is the leading cause of blindness in elderly Americans.1
Macular degeneration is typically painless and includes symptoms of dark or blurry areas in the center of vision, seeing distortions of straight lines, and difficulty doing activities that require sharp vision (e.g., driving and reading). Peripheral (side) vision may remain clear.
Healthy Lifestyle Tips
Smoking has been linked to macular degeneration. Quitting smoking may reduce the risk of developing macular degeneration.
Keep your vision in good condition by taking care to prevent macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness later in life. According to research or other evidence, the following self-care steps may be helpful.
More on Conjunctivitis:
Conjunctivitis is inflammation of the clear membrane that lines the eye.
Conjunctivitis is caused most commonly by infection from viruses or bacteria, or by an allergic reaction, though other causes exist, such as overexposure to sun, wind, smog, chlorine, or contact lens solution. Pinkeye is the common name for conjunctivitis. Blepharitis is inflammation of the eyelid; most commonly, it is caused by a bacterial infection.
Conjunctivitis and blepharitis may cause mild discomfort with tearing, itching, burning, light sensitivity, and thickening of the eyelids. They may also produce a crust or discharge, occasionally causing the eyelids to stick together during sleep. The eyes and eyelids may become red, but usually there is no blurring or change in vision.
Also known as pinkeye, conjunctivitis is usually triggered by an infection or allergic reaction. According to research or other evidence, the following self-care steps may be helpful.
More on Retinopathy:
The term retinopathy indicates damage to the retina at the back of the eye. Several conditions, such as type 1 and type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure, can lead to the development of retinopathy.
Retinopathy often has no early warning signs. If retinopathy progresses, partial or total blindness may result.
Healthy Lifestyle Tips
In a study of people with diabetes, cigarette smoking was found to be a risk factor for the development of retinopathy.1 In a study of people with type 1 (insulin-dependent) diabetes, those who maintained their blood sugar levels close to the normal range had less severe retinopathy, compared with those whose blood sugar levels were higher.2 Tighter control of blood-sugar levels can be achieved with a medically supervised program of diet, exercise, and, when appropriate, medication.
Return your retinas to better health. If you have diabetes or high blood pressure, your eyes could be at greater risk. According to research or other evidence, the following self-care steps may be helpful.