Your ability to see well is a vital aspect of your quality of life. Vision is not something that most of us really think about – until we have to. There are several very good reasons to consider how the habits you practice today will affect you in the future. Many of the eye conditions that affect older individuals have been associated with both hereditary and lifestyle factors. Harnessing the power of information, you can gain control over a larger percentage of your future visual acuity. Here, we will touch on two common eye conditions and the controllable factors associated with each.
Of the various structures in the eye, the macula, which is within the retina, is integral to central vision. Over time, this part of the eye can break down. Macular degeneration can ultimately result in the loss of this part of vision, even though the retina continues to work properly around the periphery. While there are genetic factors that can make one more susceptible to macular degeneration, there are also lifestyle factors that researchers have discovered:
- High blood pressure
- Diet rich in unhealthy trans-fats
Studies actually indicate that smoking is a substantial risk factor in the development of macular degeneration. Research is also being conducted on the association between sun exposure and the breakdown of the macula.
Cataracts cause vision to become blurry and cloudy as the lens of one or both eyes becomes inflexible and thick. This eye condition could be somewhat related to genetics, though research also demonstrates a strong link to controllable factors, including:
- UV exposure
Controlling associated health factors and wearing sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat while outdoors can be advantageous to long-term eye health. Additionally, researchers also believe that eating a healthy diet can benefit the eyes. Specifically, it is the consumption of leafy greens that have been associated with healthy eyes throughout life. Foods like romaine lettuce, kale, spinach, mustard greens, and others that are high in antioxidants support the structures of the eye, fostering optimal vision.
Part of taking good care of your eyes is knowing your risk for certain conditions. Another part is having your eyes examined on a routine basis. To schedule your eye exam, call one of our three friendly Ohio vision centers.