Did you know that what we eat makes a difference to our eye health? Specsavers is urging Australians to consider making small changes to their shopping trolley in the lead up to Macular Degeneration Awareness Week, 26th May – 1st June.
Macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness and vision loss in Australia. One in seven Australians over the age of 50, almost 1 million people, will show some evidence of macular degeneration and without prevention and treatment, this will rise 70% by 203.
Peter Larsen, Specsavers Professional Services Director and practising optometrist, explains, “Age, genes and lifestyle choices, such as diet and smoking, can increase the risk of macular degeneration. While you can’t change your age or your genes, you can make changes to your lifestyle and diet that can help to reduce the threat of developing the condition.”
To reduce your risk of macular degeneration, senior nutritionist from Nutrition Australia Aloysa Hourigan shares her tips on what to eat to maintain healthy eyesight.
1. Aim for a diet that includes a good proportion of low GI foods e.g. wholegrains, many vegetables, fruit, nuts and legumes.
2. Replace white bread and refined breakfast cereals with wholegrain varieties e.g. wholegrain breads, porridge or wheat biscuit cereals.
3. Include a wide range of different coloured vegetables everyday – yellow, orange and red coloured vegetables are rich in the group of phytochemicals, known as carotenoids, which can help protect eye health.
4. Include fish high in omega 3 (e.g. salmon, sardines, tuna, mackerel, herrings) 1-2 times per week. Other foods high in omega 3 include walnuts, almonds, and flaxseed.
5. Limit the size of your red meat serves and limit your intake to 2-3 times per week
Peter Larsen advises that as well making these simple changes to your diet, regular eye checks are essential for maintaining eye health.
Specsavers offers free Digital Retinal Photography with every standard eye exam to help combat and monitor macular degeneration and other harmful conditions. Digital Retinal Photography uses sophisticated equipment to produce a high-resolution photograph of the eye, allowing abnormalities to be detected, monitored and treated. Images are then stored by your optometrist to track your eye health over time.