Citrus fruits, carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, but also spinach, kale, eggs, salmon, tuna and dried fruit. It is not a shopping list or a diet to follow. Instead, they are some of the essential ‘ingredients’ for good prevention of the main eye diseases: cataracts, macular degeneration and glaucoma. October is the month of prevention and World Sight Day is celebrated on the 14th with many initiatives throughout the national territory.
Visual impairment and prevention
According to the World Health Organization, 2.2 billion people have vision problems linked to major diseases. Of these, 1 billion have problems that could have been prevented and countered with good information and education for the population. On the other hand, about 2.6 billion people suffer from myopia, a visual defect that also affects 312 million children under the age of 19. 1.2 billion people need glasses. But – most importantly – prevention can be done and not only on children but also on adults and the elderly. In fact, 80% of visual deficits can be prevented and treated.
It is also important to always use the glasses that have been prescribed and periodically make an eye examination, especially if you have visual disturbances. “For proper prevention – underlines Luigi Mele, ophthalmologist surgeon at the Luigi Vanvitelli University of Naples and president of the Scientific Committee of the Salmoiraghi & Viganò Foundation – it is advisable to have an eye examination from birth, i.e. within the first 3 years of age and on the first day of school, at 12 years of age. From the age of 40, visits must be made every two years. While for the over 60s, the check-up is provided once a year. Those who have had eye surgery or have eye diseases should instead visit a specialist at least once a year ”.
The sight-saving expense
Nutrition is a pass-partout for the prevention of all diseases. Just understand what to bring to the table for eye health and make it a habit to use these ingredients as much as possible. Which? “Scientific research – explains Mele – has identified a series of nutrients that have been shown to have beneficial properties for the eyes: anti oxidants, lutein, zeaxanthin, omega 3 fatty acids, zinc, beta-carotene, vitamins C, D and E” . Among the foods that should never be missing on our table are citrus fruits, yellow and orange fruits and vegetables (carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, peppers, peaches and melons), green leafy vegetables (spinach, cabbage and cabbage) , eggs and dried fruit. “Fish such as salmon, tuna, wild trout and sardines, which contain large quantities of docosahexaenoic acid DHA, must not be missing either – remembers Mele -. Also precious for the eyes are broccoli, high in vitamin C, lutein and zeaxanthin and red wine, which, like grapes, contains high doses of resveratrol, a protective factor for the macula ”.
Smoking (also) harms your eyesight
Tobacco use is a major risk factor for age-related macular degeneration, a retinal disease that can cause blindness in the central part of the eye. Furthermore, smoking is one of the main causes linked to a worsening of eye diseases and also favors a development of the opacification of the lens, or rather, cataracts.
Eye diseases of over 70s
After the age of 70, cataracts affect three out of four people and a progressive lowering of the age at which it occurs is being observed. Macular degeneration and glaucoma, among the main causes of blindness, are increasingly widespread, also due to the lengthening of the average age of the population. Too late for prevention after 60? Not at all. Some healthy habits can decrease the risk. Which? “Always protect your eyes from the sun’s rays with sunglasses with certified filter lenses, regular exercise, a diet rich in vitamins A, C, E, zinc, lutein and chromium, but – Mele reiterates – the only effective form of prevention towards eye diseases is to periodically undergo a visit to your ophthalmologist.