Written by Optikus Optometrists
Not a new concept, well ignored by many, but surely gaining popularity as the general population gets more educated on a daily basis. On the back of the eye, the central part of the retina – the light sensitive tissue – is called the Macula. This is where our best vision comes from; we read with this area of the eye, we recognize faces and much more with this area. A combination of oxidative stress and inflammation can cause damage or death to the cells in this area, causing Macular Degeneration.
According to the Macular Disease Foundation of Australia (MDFA), Macular Degeneration is the leading cause of legal blindness and major vision loss in Australia. One in seven Australians over the age of 50 has some evidence of the disease and the incidence increases with age. There is a 50% risk if a direct family history is present and there is three to four times the risk if you smoke.
To reduce your risk of macular degeneration, mdfa suggests adopting some of these practices:
- Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet that includes dark green leafy vegetables
- Lutein and zeaxanthin are present in high concentrations in a healthy macula and is found in kale, spinach, silver beet and also present in other vegies such as peas, pumpkin, brussels sprouts, broccoli, corn & beans
- carrots, a good source of vitamin a are not the best eye food as the popular myth suggests, eat them in moderation as part of a balanced and varied diet
- Eat fish two to three times a week
- High concentrations of Omega-3 are found in oily varieties of fish like salmon, mackerel, trout and sardines.
Include these nutrients
- Zinc found in oysters, seafood, peanuts, legumes, meat, yoghurt
- Vitamin C found in citrus fruit, berries, capsicum and tomatoes
- Selenium found in mushrooms, oats, brown rice and Brazil nuts
- Eat a handful of nuts a week for vitamin E. choose raw, unsalted nuts. mix a selection of almonds, walnuts, brazil nuts, pine nuts, pecans and pistachios.
- wheat germ and olive oil are also good sources of vitamin E.
* It is very important that any changes in diet or lifestyle should be undertaken in consultation with your doctor, especially if you are on prescription medications.
choose low glycemic index (low gi) carbohydrates
People who have low gi diets tend to have less heart disease, lower cholesterol, less obesity, less diabetes and also less macular degeneration
Limit Alcohol no more than two standard drinks per day is recommended
Keep a healthy lifestyle by maintaining a healthy weight, exercise regularly and reduce stress levels. And most importantly – have regularly eye examinations, ensuring the macula is checked.
Use an amsler grid to check for symptoms of macular degeneration – available from your optometrist or the MDFA.
Macular degeneration awareness week is 24th – 30th May, 2016 For more information go to: www.mdfoundation.com.au