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If your vision is getting worse as you get older, it could be the usual age-related vision loss many people experience. Or it could be something more serious…
Macular degeneration is one of the leading causes of vision loss in people over 50, and it can eventually lead to almost complete blindness. If you’re a woman, you’re at heightened risk…
If you have macular degeneration, your first symptoms are usually pretty mild. You may notice your vision is a little blurry while you read, sew or perform other detailed tasks. Straight lines may look a bit distorted or bent. Eventually, you’ll develop a big blind spot in the center of your field of vision. And it will gradually grow.
Now, there are two types of macular degeneration. And how quickly and severely your eyesight worsens depends on which type you have. Dry macular degeneration is the most common. It usually progresses slowly, which means it can take years before your vision gets really bad. Wet macular degeneration, on the other hand, can cause a sudden and severe change in vision that can make you almost completely blind in a matter of months.
But either way, you end up losing most of your eyesight. And that’s not a pretty picture. Just imagine spending your golden years unable to drive, read, write, travel, cook or even get around the house on your own. The good news is there’s an easy, scientifically-proven way to prevent macular degeneration right now— your diet.
‘Eye’ some fruit to keep healthy eyes
A recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Coimbra in Portugal found that people who ate a Mediterranean diet were a third less likely to develop age-related macular degeneration.
Now, the Mediterranean diet includes an array of tasty and healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, healthy fats and fish. But there was one type of food in particular that seemed to really pack a punch against macular degeneration… fruit.
People who ate the most fruit were the least likely of anyone to develop age-related macular degeneration. More specifically, eating five ounces of fruit per day or more slashed macular degeneration risk by 15 percent.
Researchers also determined that what you drink can make big difference in your macular degeneration risk — especially if you enjoy caffeinated beverages.
Caffeinated beverages like coffee and tea contain antioxidants that protect your eyes from macular degeneration. That’s why people who consumed about 75 mg of caffeine per day (about one shot of espresso) were less likely to develop the disease. Antioxidants delivered to your eyes from beta-carotene, vitamin C and vitamin E were also important vision protectors.
So what does all this mean for you? Well, it means that if you:
- Eat a healthy, fruit-filled Mediterranean diet;
- Enjoy your daily cup of coffee or tea;
- Get enough beta-carotene, vitamin C and vitamin E;
… you greatly increase your chances of seeing clearly until the day you die. Sounds like an easy and enjoyable way to stave off age-related vision loss to me!
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“Age-Related Macular Degeneration.” National Eye Institute. https://nei.nih.gov. Retrieved October 18, 2016.
“Dry macular degeneration.” The Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.org. Retrieved October 18, 2016.
“Fruit-rich Mediterranean diet with antioxidants may cut age-related macular degeneration risk by more than a third.” American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO). ScienceDaily. https://www.sciencedaily.com. Retrieved October 18, 2016