A recent Australian study published in July, 2018, has shown that eating vegetable dietary nitrates that are found in leafy greens and beetroot can help prevent age related macular degeneration (AMD) of the eye. Dietary nitrate forms into nitric oxide, which is involved in the causes of several diseases of the eye, either from too much or too little nitric oxide. Researchers from the Westmead Institute for Medical Research followed 2037 Australian seniors age 49 and older for 15 years. They discovered that people who ate 100-142 mgs of vegetable nitrates daily had a 35% lower risk for developing early AMD than people who ate less than 69 mgs a day.
The Blue Mountains Eye Study
The Blue Mountains Eye Study was a population-based study of 2856 seniors age 49 and older from an area west of Sidney, Australia. The participants were examined at the beginning of the study and 25 years later 2037 participants were re-examined. Retinal photographs were examined for signs of age related macular degeneration. A food-frequency questionnaire was used to determine dietary intake and the calculation of the amount of nitrates consumed from vegetables and non-vegetable sources.
This study is the first study to target the association of vegetable nitrates with macular degeneration.
Results of the research showed a positive association between the consumption of leafy greens and beetroot with helping to prevent the onset of AMD.
Another study showed that the Oriental or Mediterranean dietary patterns that include a lot of fresh vegetables could also lower the risk for contracting AMD. For more about this see our blog from October 5, 2018.
Age Related Macular Degeneration of the Eye (AMD)
AMD is an age related retinal eye disease that destroys sharp, central vision in the macula of the eyes and this usually affects people after the age of 50. Diseases of the retina are a major cause of blindness in the United States.
Tips to Help Protect the Eyes
- Wear good sun glasses that have ultraviolet protection against the rays of the sun.
- If you sit at a computer, be certain to remember to blink often and to turn your eyes far away from the screen every 20 minutes for at least 20 seconds or more.
- Quit smoking, as it dries up the eyes.
- If you suffer from dry burning eyes, see your eye doctor about getting special drops or artificial tears.
- Eat eye healthy foods like leafy greens, beets and carrots.
- Your doctor may also recommend special supplements to take to keep the eyes healthy.
- Make sure your blood pressure is under control. High blood pressure can sometimes lead to bleeding in one or both eyes and other problems.
- If you suffer from diabetes you must also be under the care of an eye doctor, as diabetics suffer from eye problems like diabetic retinopathy, which can lead to blindness. Make sure your glucose is under control.
- If you wear eye glasses, make sure you do not forget your annual visit to your eye doctor.
Glaucoma is an eye disease where fluid causes pressure to build up in the eyes. There may be no symptoms or pain, but an eye doctor can test your eyes to see if pressure has built up in your eyes and then prescribe special eye drops to control the pressure. In some cases when people have narrow angles in their eyes, laser treatment might be recommended, so that there will not be a sudden attack of closed angle glaucoma that can lead to blindness.
Short or Long-term Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Care
If your loved one needs to be in short or long-term rehabilitation and skilled nursing care, choose a facility that offers nutritious, healthy food with lots of vegetables and salads.
The Royal Suites Healthcare and Rehabilitation in scenic Galloway Township, New Jersey has a restaurant on every floor and offers very healthy and nutritious food.
It pays to eat lots of leafy greens and beets not only to protect your eyes, but leafy greens have also been linked to all kinds of health benefits.
SENIORS OVER THE AGE OF 50 MUST HAVE AN ANNUAL DILATED EYE EXAM, AS SOME PROBLEMS LIKE EARLY AMD AND GLAUCOMA CAN BE SEEN AND TREATED BEFORE PERMANENT EYE DAMAGE SETS IN.