Research proves that eating right helps us avoid vision loss from eye disease – specifically, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) long considered to be the leading cause of “non-preventable” vision loss in Canada. Lately we have started to re-evaluate the “non-preventable” descriptive term, as we have learned that paying attention to three modifiable lifestyle factors may cut our risk for vision loss from AMD by up to 50%!
Pay attention to diet, UV light exposure and stop smoking. When faced with the risk of gradually losing our eyesight as we age, it seems like a fairly simple commitment. Yet every day we have patients whose lifestyle may not be the best at promoting healthy sight, especially if they have family members with AMD.
Let’s discuss the diet factor. The so-called “anti-oxidant foods” primarily found in dark green leafy vegetables (eg. Spinach, kale, broccoli) and fruits (berries are the best) contain key nutrients that are research-proven to fight AMD. A follow up study, with results due later this year, is expected to show that omega 3 fatty acids, found in fish, are also beneficial.
I always counsel my patients that it’s best to get these nutrients naturally, as part of a healthy diet. Most become anxious when we start discussing the recommended daily doses – 8 to 12 servings of fruits and vegetables daily, plus at least 2 servings of cold water fish per week. It’s true that it’s challenging to get this amount, and if we really analyzed our diets I think we’d see that many of us aren’t even coming close.
My advice: don’t worry too much about the numbers. A serving is actually quite small. Strive to eat a decent amount of fruits and vegetables with every meal, and choose wisely – not all are high in the key nutrients. Click here to access a list of the best anti-oxidant foods to reduce progression of AMD. With the omega 3’s it is hard to get good sources of cold water fish regularly. There are vegetable-based omega 3 sources also, but we’d have to consume mountains of them in order to get the same benefit from a serving of good quality salmon, for example.
With our best efforts it may still be challenging to get the right nutrition in our daily diet. Consider supplementing with vitamins – while not an excuse for eating poorly they can help “top us up” on those days we don’t quite get our daily levels of AMD-friendly foods. I recommend Macula 2 Essentials to help attain your anti-oxidant levels. It contains twice the amount of Lutein as the leading brands (Lutein is protective and is found in the macula). For the omega 3 I prescribe FortifEye twice daily. A big problem with many, if not most commercially-available omega 3 is that they absorb very poorly in the body and may actually be toxic to our systems. Not a problem with FortifEye, which is specially formulated to be safe and readily bioavailable.
Talk to one of our doctors at your next visit to get the best recommendations based on your specific risk factors.