Eat to Protect Your Eyes

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Eat to Protect Your Eyes

I just watched this very interesting video on foods that increase/decrease risk of Macular Degeneration (MD). You might be asking WTF is MD and why do I care?  Good question.  MD is a condition in which part of the retina in the eye slowly deteriorates.  It is a chronic and progressive condition that results in blindness or partial blindness.  My in-laws’ neighbor has it; it’s horrible.

It turns out that, like so many chronic health conditions that have exploded in number recently, MD is related to blue light exposure.  And as you all know, blue light is damn near inescapable these days, so its a concern.  And its especially a concern for your clients who are around 40 to 60 years of age like I am because we were the first guinea pigs to be unknowingly exposed to all this technology that is killing us, and exposed for decades.
Anyway, here are the big takeaways for how to eat to minimize risks of getting MD.  Much of it is stuff that you probably already know if good for other reasons.
– Don’t Smoke 
– Fish 3x per week
– 1 cup of spinach per day (or other green leafy veggies)
– 1 handful of nuts per week
– Vegetable oils hurt the eyes
– High glycemic index foods hurt your eyes.
– If you get these things in your diet, supplements add NO additional benefit
– Fish oil supplements do not have any effect in the eye for preventing macular degeneration, you have to actually eat the fish, not just the oil.

Very interestingly, this physician does acknowledge that  (1) blue light is harmful to the macula, and (2) blue light causes the eye lens to darken and turn yellow, which is what a cataract is(when the lens gets so dark that enough light to see cannot get through).

But he doesn’t recommend blue blockers or mitigating blue light exposure in the video (which I think he should).  Instead, he explains that lutein is good for your eyes because is is a yellow pigment that adds yellow pigment to the Macula lutea, which is on the other side of the lens, but before the retina. This yellow pigment adds to the filtering of blue light and will block additional blue light before the light reaches the RPE, which is important because blue light induces cell death (apoptosis) in the RPE and increased production of reactive oxygen species (ROS).