that women with a body mass index of more
than 30 have an increased risk of cataracts.
Plus, regular exercise reduces the intraocular
pressure of people with glaucoma, another
symptomless disorder that causes blindness.
aim to work up a sweat for at least 30 minutes
three days per week to prevent these diseases
from stealing your sight. schertzer also
encourages walking 10,000 steps daily.
Easy steps to protect your vision
By Jennifer Nelson
Population-based research, such as the
age-related eye Disease study (areDs)
funded by the national eye institute in the
While it’s a no-brainer that eating
right and exercising regularly affects your
heart health and cholesterol count, you may
be surprised to learn that those things matter to your eyes, too. the eyes are a barometer of your health.
Eat your fruits and vegetables
“When your mom told you carrots were
good for your eyes, she was giving good
advice,” says sandy Feldman, a Costco mem-
ber and ophthalmologist in san Diego,
California. research shows that a diet high in
antioxidants as well as certain vitamins and
minerals may help to prevent or slow the pro-
gression of arMD. eating veggies that are
full of vitamin a and beta carotene, such as
carrots, sweet potatoes, peaches and man-
goes, reduces the risk of glaucoma and
arMD. What’s more, leafy greens, such as
spinach, kale, collards and swiss chard, are
loaded with luteins and zeaxanthins, carot-
enoids crucial for the health of the retina.
omega- 3 fatty acids, found in fish, nuts
and vegetable oils, also lower the risk and
slow the progression of arMD by blocking
the buildup of plaque in the arteries and
reducing inflammation. and choices rich in
vitamin C, such as green peppers, tomatoes
and oranges, help to protect the eye against
damage from ultraviolet light. “Patients in the
areDs trials who did not supplement their
diet with antioxidant vitamins and minerals
were at higher risk of age-related macular
degeneration,” says schertzer.
continued on page 46
“eating right, exercising regularly and
seeing your doctor regularly are just as
important when it comes to your eyes as for
the rest of your body,” says robert schertzer,
a Vancouver ophthalmologist and associate
clinical professor in the division of glaucoma at the University of british Columbia.
living a healthy lifestyle directly improves
your vision and safeguards the health of your
eyes, decreasing your risk for eye disease.
here’s how to best protect your peepers.
U.s., has found that patients who smoked were
more likely to experience age-related macular
degeneration (arMD), a slow-progressing eye
disorder that is the leading cause of blindness
in people 65 or older. “nicotine is a known
stimulant which constricts blood vessels, compromising your circulation. restricting the
flow of blood into your eyes can damage your
retina. this can lead to both macular degeneration as well as glaucoma,” says schertzer.
arMD has no symptoms at first, and then
eventually robs your central sight, so that if you
looked at someone’s face you would be able to
see only the person’s hair. each time you light
up, smoking harms the blood vessels in your
eyes. Quitting halts vessel damage and reduces
your risk of these blinding disorders.
1. Don’t over-wear or sleep with contact
lenses in since infections and abrasions
2. Replace eye makeup twice yearly so it
doesn’t harbor germs that can cause
Dial down your weight
The Costco Connection
costco members can schedule eye exams
and get prescription glasses, contacts, sunglasses and supplements, such as lutein,
at most costco locations.
Maintaining a healthy body through
exercise is a vital part of maintaining all of the
body’s organs, including the eyes. obesity
indirectly affects sufficient blood flow, even to
the eyes. it’s also associated with hypertension, high cholesterol and vessel inflammation, which raise the risk for arMD. a study
in the International Journal of Obesity found
3. Take hourly breaks from the computer
and focus eyes 20 feet away for a few
minutes to prevent eye strain.
4. Wear protective polycarbonate safety
goggles for activities around the home
that pose a risk of flying debris.
5. Check with your doctor about lubricating
drops or an artificial-tears solution if
you’re bothered by dry eyes.—JN