Eating Healthy Prevents Age-related Macular Degeneration

A new study confirms the importance of eating healthy to help protect our eyes from age-related macular degeneration (AMD).  Researchers found that people whose diets had higher levels of certain nutrients - vitamins C and E, zinc, lutein, zeaxanthin, omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA - and had high levels of low-glycemic index (low GI) foods, were less likely to develop early and advanced AMD.  Although the researchers say clinical studies are needed before physicians can begin recommending specific nutrient doses or dietary patterns to AMD patients, there's no need for people to delay adding health food to their shopping carts.  Sources of AMD-protective nutrient include citrus fruits, vegetable oils, nuts, whole grains, dark green leafy vegetables and cold water fish.  The GI value is based on how fast a food carbohydrates raise the body's blood sugar levels; low GI foods have less impact on blood sugar fluctuations.

AMD affects the retina, light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye.  Advanced AMD can destry the central, detailed vision that we need to read, drive, and enjoy daily life.  Although the "wet" form of advanced AMD is often treatable, there's no effective treatment for the much more common "dry" form.  Eating well is a practical way to reduce AMD risk while enjoying better health.  To learn more about AMD, click here.

This article reprinted with permission from the American Academy of Ophthalmology's EyeSmart campaign.