Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in people over the age of 55. The number of cases is expected to triple by the year 2025. This information comes right from the American Optometric Association (AOA). If you are wondering what age-related macular degeneration is, you aren’t alone. For as prevalent as the disease is, there isn’t much talk about it. In the simplest of terms, age-related macular degeneration creates blind spots in the central vision. It can cause images to look “wavy” or have dark spots.
Proper nutrition is one of the keys to fighting it off. Studies have shown that taking vitamin and mineral supplements or a healthy change in diet reduced the risk of advanced stage age-related macular degeneration by 25% in some subjects. It’s an encouraging number and doesn’t hurt to eat extra vegetables or swallow a pill if the situation calls for it.
However, a proper balanced diet will help prevent age-related macular degeneration in the first place. One of the essential nutrients in warding it off is called lutein. The body doesn’t naturally make lutein, so it has to come from other sources, namely leafy green vegetables. It is increasingly becoming true that we are what we eat, if it looks healthy its bound to be good for the body somewhere. One of the best sources for lutein is, strangely enough, kale.
Usually the left over garnish for many burgers and fries, cooked kale provides 23.8mg of lutein per serving. If the hardy cousin to cabbage isn’t all that appetizing, spinach, collards, turnip greens, corn, green peas, broccoli, lettuce and other foods all contain lutein. Some of the benefits of lutein intake is that it is an antioxidant to keep cells healthy, it acts as a filter to block out harmful high-energy blue wavelengths, increased tolerance and recovery from light glare and may promote low light sight.
After an eye exam, optometrists might give out some Lutein supplements. There have been a number of studies done that show adding Lutein is good for eye health and companies who are involved in eye care are running as fast as they can to manufacture these new pills. People at risk for age-related macular degeneration should talk to their optometrist if they should be adding more lutein to their diet. Just be sure to always talk with your eye doctor first before taking any sort of medicine or supplement for your eyes.