We often “overlook” what happens to our eyes as we get older, and instead focus on cardio, bone and brain health – aspects of the physical body we need to protect with extra vigilance as time goes on. But during September, a month that places extra emphasis on healthy aging, I’d like to focus on eye health.
When we age, our eyes age too. For many people, it becomes harder to focus. There can also be marked difficulty in seeing up close, distinguishing color or shape contrast, and adjusting to light changes. Some of these symptoms are normal, but they can also be the result of age-related cataracts, diabetes, glaucoma and macular degeneration.
For most of my life, I never thought much about eye health but then I heard some facts about lutein at about the same time as my father began to experience the debilitating impact of advanced macular degeneration. This led me to learn more about the role nutrients play in healthy vision, in particular lutein, which I now include as part of my nutritional intake every day. Here are a few things to know about lutein:
- Lutein, which is deposited into the retina, helps the health of the eye cells by filtering harmful high-energy blue wavelengths.
- You are born with a certain amount of lutein but since your body doesn’t make it, the amount of lutein in the eye may deplete with age.
- You can replenish lutein in the eye through foods such as spinach, kale, carrots, broccoli, eggs, red and yellow peppers, corn, spices, tomatoes, and fruit juice—and of course, those foods provide many other nutritional benefits as well.
- However, you’d have to eat over 2 bowls of raw spinach every day to get the recommended daily dose of 6 mg of lutein, which is why I take Herbalife Nutrition’s Ocular Defense nutritional lutein supplement every day. .
As we get older, better nutrition, physical activity and an active mind can aid the aging process. The bonus is that when you take care of your whole body, your eyes benefit too.