Did you know more than 23 million American adults have never had an eye exam? Getting regular eye exams can catch vision problems early, when they may be easier to treat. That’s why NEI is interested in making vision health a priority, by encouraging adults to take action to protect their vision and inspiring health professionals to continue teaching the importance of vision care.
Steps to Being Proactive About Your Vision
- The first step is to stop smoking. Research has proven smokers have a stronger probability of being diagnosed with macular degeneration than nonsmokers. Smoking can cut off the oxygen supply to the macular, which is the central part of the retina. And while we all lose pigment as we age due to environmental toxins such as ultraviolet light, smoking accelerates the process.
- A second recommendation is to buy eyeglass lenses with blue blocker. 95% of Americans spend more than two hours a day on their cell phone, computer, iPad, or other digital devices. We are also exposed to blue light from the sun and fluorescent light bulbs. The result is eye fatigue and possible macular degeneration. By purchasing lenses with blue blocker, the damage is minimized.
- The third step is to wear sunglasses during daylight hours, even when driving your car. Please keep in mind not all sunglasses are created equal. The only sunglasses which offer proper protection have U-400 blocker and are polarized on both sides of the lenses.
- A fourth proactive step is to add foods rich in alpha omega-3 fatty acids to your diet. Walnuts, flaxseed oil, and many types of fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring, and snapper are good dietary sources.
- According to a study sponsored by the National Eye Institute, taking high levels of antioxidants and zinc can reduce the risk of developing advanced age-related macular degeneration by about 25%. However, be sure to talk to your doctor before taking this vitamin as the AREDS formula is not recommended for persons who have not been diagnosed with macular degeneration because it contains a high dose of zinc.