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Sat, Jan. 18

Take care of your eyes with good nutrition

My new glasses.

My new glasses.

Hello Simply Fit readers. There is a statement that I am hearing more and more often: "It's just a natural part of aging." I hear it from my dermatologist when I'm concerned about a spot on my skin. "That's just age" he states with a matter of fact tone. I hear it from my hairdresser when I complain about the number of grey hairs that are exponentially popping up on my head, and just the other day; I heard that dreaded statement from an ophthalmologist.

You see, I've been having an increasing difficult time with my sight. It all started with having to hold objects closer in order to see them clearly, and then progressed to needing to adjust my computer monitor so that the print and pictures were easier to see.

I even broke down and purchased a pair of those cheap reading glasses that magnify everything, but that only worked if I held everything right up to my nose. Feeling a bit defeated, I came to the realization that I should probably get my eyes checked by a professional.

It's been over five years since I've last had my eyes checked. I can still remember the doctor telling me how my vision was perfect and that he wished his sight was as good as mine, however, this time that was not the case. Within a few minutes, the ophthalmologist stated that I have astigmatism in each eye, the right eye being worse than the left.

So what is astigmatism? According to WebMD, "A person's eye is naturally shaped like a sphere. Under normal circumstances, when light enters the eye, it refracts, or bends, evenly, creating a clear view of the object. However, the eye of a person with astigmatism is shaped more like a football or the back of a spoon. For this person, when light enters the eye it is refracted more in one direction than the other, allowing only part of the object to be in focus at one time. Objects at any distance can appear blurry and wavy." Yep, blurry sounds about right.

So it's been about a week since my glasses have come in but I'm afraid that I can't say that I am entirely happy. They seem to work great for reading up close but everything is blurry when I look at my computer screen which was why I didn't like using the non prescription reader glasses. I'll be making another appointment with the ophthalmologist ASAP.

Since I am a firm believer in nutrition's healing properties, I thought I'd do a little research to find out what I could do nutritionally to help with my eye site. I realize that nutrition can not reverse astigmatism, but I want to make sure that I am doing everything I can in order to preserve my sight.

Here's what I found: The same diet that helps protect your heart can also protect you eyes from age related macular degeneration (AMD). AMD is the breakdown of an important area of the retina called the macula. Macular degeneration is the most common causes of legal blindness in the United States, and macular degeneration just happens to run in my family.

Vitamins C & E, Zinc, Lutein, Zeaxanthin & possibly Omega-3 fatty acids appear to be the most effective nutrients in preventing or slowing down macular degeneration. Taking a supplement with these nutrients may not decrease your chances of developing macular degeneration if you are already consuming a diet that is high in the above mentioned nutrients, but let's be real; most people do not eat five or more servings of fruits and vegetables every day and are also eating fish twice a week. For those of you who don't, a supplement made specifically for eye health may be helpful.

Sadly, I found no nutritional help for preventing astigmatism. All is not wasted though. I have always taken my sight for granted, but not any more.

I want to make sure that I am doing everything that I can to keep my eyes as healthy as they can be. When searching for foods that are high in eye health nutrients, I found that eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables was key; I also found that maintaining good blood pressure and a healthy weight was also a factor for maintaining good vision.

Just so you know, "It's just a natural part of aging" is not acceptable for me. I refuse to let my age dictate what I should be doing or feeling. I don't mind getting older one bit because the alternative is death. I'm grateful for the opportunity to get grey hair, age spots, and now glasses. Some people never get that opportunity, but you will never hear me say "I'm too old for that" unless you are talking about twerking. No one should be doing that!


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