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Eye Healthby Dave Foreman
In the next several months, different organizations will be rallying attention for specific eye conditions, such as Glaucoma Awareness Month and AMD/Low Vision Awareness Month. This prompted me to write a general article on eye health. In past newsletters, I have covered specific eye health challenges such as the two mentioned above and Diabetic Retinopathy (refer to articles and more at vitaminshoppe.com). Now it is time to help those who have no specific eye problem, but want to take every step in preventing it from happening.
When we look (no pun intended) at ocular health challenges, we see that the most common preventive treatment is the consumption of antioxidants. Whether it is as simple as night blindness or as serious as Macular Degeneration, antioxidants play a critical role. Fruits and vegetables are where you will find a majority of these potent eye–health nutrients. Look for fruits and veggies with lots of color. More specifically, yellow, red and orange foods are the best when it comes to your eyes. Berries seem to top the list. Strawberries, blueberries and raspberries can be consumed daily to provide the boost you need to fight off many serious eye health challenges. 1/4-1/2 cup per day will usually do the trick.
If getting your antioxidants from food is a challenge (regretfully these foods are expensive compared to other foods you may need to purchase) then taking a blended/ combination supplement targeting eye health is a great idea. Recently, The Vitamin Shoppe launched a new/ cutting edge eye health supplement that I am a huge fan of: M.D. Select Advanced Ocular Support. This supplement takes a dual approach by using berry extracts along with some of the more powerful ingredients known to support healthy eyes. Taking this supplement along with a balanced diet will get you on the right path to healthier eyes.Other combination supplements I like for eye health include Ocuguard Plus w/Lutein, Zeaxanthin and D3 (Twin Labs), Vision with Lutein & Bilberry (Nature's Way) and Ocudyne II (Allergy Research). These all take a synergistic approach to supporting eye health.
Adding an Omega-3 fatty acid from fish will give you the extra nutritional support your eyes need. DHA (found in fish oil) is critical for developing and maintaining healthy eyes. I recommend 1-3 grams of Omega-3 per day.
Beside diet and supplement changes, wearing a quality pair of sunglasses can do wonders at protecting your eyes from free radical damage. Being fashionable doesn't mean you are protected. Many of the high end sunglasses that look great won't give you the protection you need.Make sure your sunglasses block UVA and UVB rays. Just because your sunglasses are tinted doesn't mean you are protected–read the labels. Overexposure to the harmful effects of UV rays will lead to many of the more serious eye health problems we face.
Finally, lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking, reducing the amount of alcohol you consume (no more than 1 serving per day) and eating a diet low in bad fats (animal fats and cooking oils) will help reduce your risk of eye problems in the future. Getting other health challenges such as Diabetes and High Blood pressure under control will increase the overall health of your eyes. If you wish to see clearly for years to come, I recommend you employ these few suggestions as soon as possible.