Macular degeneration, which is the leading cause of blindness in older adults, turns the golden years into a period of heartbreak and debilitation for the more than 10 million Americans who are diagnosed each year. As the baby boomers age we are likely to see a major increase in the incidence of macular degeneration.

Macular degeneration results when the fragile center of the retina (the macula) deteriorates after years of slow and steady damage. The macula is responsible for central vision. There is no pain associated with macular degeneration and the vision loss is so gradual that most people don’t notice it at first. As the condition progresses, those affected may experience blurred vision and objects may appear to be distorted. In some cases color vision may be altered. If left untreated, macular degeneration will eventually lead to a profound loss of central vision. The disease does not affect peripheral vision and usually doesn't cause total blindness. But since it causes loss of central vision those affected with it cannot drive and often have difficulty recognizing people’s faces.

Women are more likely than men to develop the condition. A decrease in estrogen after menopause appears to be the contributing factor. Smokers are up to four times more likely than non-smokers to have macular degeneration. Diets high in refined carbohydrates increase the risk because they cause a rapid increase in blood sugar and insulin release. Several studies have suggested a link between obesity and macular degeneration.

For years, medical researchers have acknowledged the benefits of certain minerals and vitamins in maintaining eye health, Lutein, an antioxidant belonging to the carotenoid family, has been closely linked to a decreased risk of macular degeneration. Foods that are naturally rich in lutein include dark green, leafy vegetables like spinach and kale, as well as other highly colored foods such as corn and egg yolks.

Most people do not get enough lutein in their diets but it is widely available in a variety of nutritional supplements and fortified foods and beverages. Consider adding lutein supplements to your diet, especially if you are over 50.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends a dilated eye exam at least every two to three years if you're between 45 and 60 and every year after the age of 60. Regular eye exams can detect macular degeneration in its very early stages, well before the disease causes vision loss. A combination of lutein supplements, a healthy lifestyle and regular eye exams can spare you the heartbreak associated with macular degeneration.

Failing Eyesight is Not an Inevitable Part of Aging

• Prevent general oxidation-damage to your vision
• Improve your night vision
• Improve the microcirculation of retinal tissue
• Protect your eyes from harmful sunlight
• Keep your eyesight sharp and clear forever!

What are the two biggest culprits behind eye problems? Oddly enough, sunlight and pollution. Your eyes enjoy almost no protection from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. This bombardment of UV rays leads to free-radical damage responsible for the vast majority of vision problems.

Worse yet, because most of us live in or near cities, your eyes are overexposed to pollution and suffer from more free radical damage than any other organ in your body.

Now for the good news. The latest medical research reveals you can combat and defeat this constant, ever increasing free radical assault on your eyes by feeding your body with high powered, targeted antioxidants.

Author's Bio: 

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