As we enter into 2020, many of us are thinking about the resolutions we’ve made for self-improvement in the coming year. For those of us who choose to partake in this time-honored tradition, here are the “Top-10 Eye Health Suggestions” I feel should make it on everyone’s list. Here we go…
1. Don’t Smoke. If you smoke, you’re likely tired of hearing this mantra preached to you from every corner. Regardless of their medical specialty, this is at the top of every doctor’s list— especially your eye doctor. Smoking reduces the oxygen-carrying capacity of our red blood cells and is of particular concern
for conditions like macular degeneration and glaucoma.
2. Eat Healthily. Load up on citrus fruits and dark green leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach, and collard greens— all of which are high in vitamin C which helps combat age-related eye damage. Avoid processed snack foods as much as possible.
3. Get Your Omega-3’s. These are found in cold-water fish such as salmon, sardines, mackerel, herring, and albacore tuna. Try to work these into your diet twice a week, or consider taking an omega-3 supplement, such as fish oil. Most supplements have either a tri-glyceride or ethyl ester base. Look for supplements with a tri-glyceride base, because these have a 70% higher absorption rate* than the ethyl ester based options. We recommend Pro-Omega from Nordic Natural.
4. Maintain Health. Normal blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels, as well as a healthy weight, are vitally important to overall eye health.
5. Exercise. If you are new to exercise, try incorporating half an hour of walking every day. Engage in more strenuous activities like yoga, aerobic activities, strength training, or sports if possible.
6. Protect Your Eyes. Wear sunglasses and hats or visors to shield your eyes from ultra-violet (UV) light and blue light. This isn’t just a summer recommendation, even in the northwest. Surprisingly, even during the gloomier months, there is enough sunlight year-round that eye protection is recommended for everyone, all the time.
7. Rest Your Eyes. In today’s highly digital world it is common for our eyes to become strained from too much screen time. If you work on a computer, try to follow the 20-20-20 Rule. Every 20 minutes, take your eyes off your computer and look at something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.
8. Macular Pigment Supplement. If you have symptoms of macular degeneration or a family history of AMD, consider taking a macular pigment supplement— especially if you do not have a diet high in fruit and vegetables. These supplements typically include lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil). We have several specific supplements at the office and are happy to make a recommendation based on your genetic profile.
9. Annual Eye Exam. An annual comprehensive eye exam is the most important thing you can do to prevent and treat vision issues. Many serious vision conditions are not symptomatic until advanced stages and may go unchecked if not caught in a routine exam. An annual exam is the best way to catch these conditions early, making treatment more manageable. Schedule an exam today!
*Dyerberg J, et al. Bioavailability of marine n-3 fatty acid formulations. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids 2010 Sep; 83 (3): 137-141