Healthy Diet May Preserve Vision

Healthy eating may help preserve your vision as you age, eye experts say.

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) damages the macula (a small area near the center of the retina, located on the inside back layer of the eye), leading to a decline in central vision.

There is no cure for AMD, which affects about 10 million Americans. It's the leading cause of vision loss in adults aged 50 and older. Along with age, smoking and family history, a poor diet is a major risk factor for AMD.

"Patients who eat high-fat, high-cholesterol diets have a higher risk of developing macular degeneration, as opposed to people who eat green leafy vegetables, fruits, and foods high in antioxidants," said Dr. Malav Joshi, an ophthalmologist at the Krieger Eye Institute in Baltimore.

A heart-healthy diet of fruits and vegetables and fish high in omega-3 fatty acids is generally recommended for good overall eye health. But this type of diet is especially important for people with a family history of AMD, according to Dr. Nancy Kunjukunju, an ophthalmologist at Krieger.

Knock one back. A glass of red wine a day is good for you. A number of studies have found this, but a recent one found that the polyphenols (a type of antioxidant) in green tea, red wine and olives may also help protect you against breast cancer. It’s thought that the antioxidants help protect you from environmental carcinogens such as passive tobacco smoke.

"Good cardiovascular health leads to good eye health," Kunjukunju said in a LifeBridge Health news release. "If you take care of yourself in terms of your cholesterol and everything else, your body does better, your eyes do better."

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