The eyes are the windows into our soul. As we age, the risk of developing vision problem increases and when left untreated, may lead to blindness.

What are the common eye problems?

The common eye problems we experience as we age are:

  • Cataract
  • Age related macular degeneration (AMD)
  • Glaucoma
  • Diabetic Retinopathy

To catch the eye problems early and help prevent vision loss, your doctor may recommend that you do eye check on a regular basis. Here is what you should know about the threats of these eye diseases.

1) Cataract

Cataract is the clouding of eye’s lens. It normally occurs after 40 years old. Symptoms of cataract include blurred vision as if you are looking through a cloudy glass. Sunlight or light from the lamp seems bright and glaring and colours do not appear as bright as before.

Our lens is made of water and protein. The protein is arranged in a way that keeps and let light pass through it. Aging cause the protein to clump together forming a cloud in a small area of the lens and over time the area expand.

The risk factors causing cataract are:

  • Age
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Prolong use of steroids
  • Prolong use of statin drugs for controlling cholesterol
  • UV radiation

2) Age related macular degeneration ( AMD)

Macular is the area in the eye that is responsible for sharp central vision. As we age, the macular degeneration and cause loss of vision and blindness.

There are 2 types of macular degeneration;

  • Dry AMD – degeneration and thinning of macular tissue and deposit around the area.
  • Wet AMD – new blood vessel grow beneath the retina and leak fluid and blood causing permanent damage to the light-sensitive cells to die off.

AMD is usually a slow and painless process of loss of vision. Early signs include shadowy area in the central vision or fuzzy, distorted vision.

The risk factors causing AMD are:

  • Age
  • Genetic
  • Deteriorating oxygen supply to the retina
  • Smoking
  • Hypertension
  • Obesity
  • High level of dietary fat

3) Glaucoma

Glaucoma happened when there is higher than normal pressure inside the eyes, which affect peripheral vision loss and eventual blindness. There are no symptoms to detect glaucoma. It is a silent and painless process that goes undetected until the optic nerve is irreversibly damaged. t is believed that poor blood flow to the optic nerve is the cause of glaucoma.

4) Diabetic retinopathy

In diabetes, the high blood sugar clog and damage the blood vessels and alter blood flows to the body organs, including the eyes. The reduced blood flow to the light-sensitive cells causing it to die and loss of vision.

Symptoms include fluctuating vision, eye floaters, shadow in the field of view, blurry and distorted vision or double vision.

How can you prevent the eye problems?

1) Exercise

Blood flow and circulation is important in supplying nutrients and oxygen to the light-sensitive cells as well as the retina. Exercise enhances the blood circulation and sends oxygen throughout the body.  Walking everyday for 30 minutes is the simplest form of exercise can that achieve the results.

2) Healthy diet

Eating a healthy diet provide good nutrition that have preventive effect on the eye problems.  Johanna M Seddon reported in the American Journal of Clinical nutrition in January 2007, a study on the key nutrients such as Omega-3, lutein and zeaxanthin linking them to reduce the risk of developing eye diseases.

You can get lutein and zeaxanthin antioxidants from kale, spinach, broccoli, peas, corn and bell peppers.

3) Quit Smoking

Smoking increase the risk factors by two of AMD and  cataract. Smoking reduces the oxygen supply in the blood and increase the risk of clogging of blood vessels.

4) Weight management

People who are obese normally are lacking in good nutrition. Being overweight with high body fat is linked to higher incidence of cataract as reported by Schaumberg in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Therefore, overweight and high BMI people should lose the body fat and bring the BMI to normal range.

Take care of your eyes today in order to prevent these eye problems from happening, then you can get to enjoy good vision as you age.

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