By Dr. Steven Nielsen
The health of our eyes is largely dependent on how we take care of them over the course of our lives. This includes eating foods that are beneficial to eye health. In addition to the foods we eat, the following are important and easy ways to protect our eyes:
•Wear sunglass to protect your eyes from harmful UV rays.
•Take nutritional supplements such as omega-3 to encourage better overall visual acuity.
•Avoid rubbing your eyes since it can cause retinal and corneal damage.
While following these guidelines will assist in your eye health, there are still risks of developing other vision related problems such as macular degeneration. Macular degeneration, often age-related macular degeneration (AMD or ARMD), is a medical condition that usually affects older adults and results in a loss of vision in the center of the visual field (the macula) because of damage to the retina.
There are two forms of the disease — dry and wet. AMD is a major cause of blindness and visual impairment in individuals age 50 and over. It affects more than 1.75 million individuals in the United States. Macular degeneration can adversely affect and sometime make it impossible to carry out every day functions such as reading, facial recognition and distinguishing colors.
One way to receive important nutrients for the eyes is to include spinach in your diet. Spinach contains powerful antioxidants — lutein and zeaxanthin — needed for lowering the risk of developing macular degeneration. Including raw spinach in the diet will benefit eye health over time. Spinach-based smoothies offer a way to include the vegetable in the diet.
Try this delicious smoothie recipe:
Spinach smoothie (2 servings)
1 banana, medium size, sliced;
2 cups baby spinach;
1 cup milk (dairy or non-dairy);
10 almonds, soaked overnight;
1 tablespoon flax seed oil;
1 cup of any other fresh or frozen fruit like berries, mangos and peaches;
Instructions: Blend together the sliced bananas, spinach and about 1/2 cup of milk to make a smooth puree. There should not be any lumps. Next, add the remaining milk and blend it once again. Adjust the quantity of milk to get the desired consistency. Serve it immediately.
Steven A. Nielsen is the chief ophthalmologist at The Nielsen Eye Center. To schedule a consultation or examination with Dr. Nielsen, call 617-471-5665 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. or email email@example.com. Archives of articles from previous issues can be read at www.fiftyplusadvocate.com.