Protect Your Eyes By Protecting Your Heart!

Protect your heart by protecting your eyes

We all know that we can protect our hearts by having low cholesterol and good blood pressure but did you know that those same things could also protect your eyes?

Research have shown that cardiovascular disease (CVD) and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) share many of the same risk factors. Indeed, the same processes that cause CVD, such as inflammation and oxidative damage, are implicated in AMD.

So how can I protect my heart and eyes?

  • Stop smoking

    Smokers are up to four times more likely to develop AMD than non-smokers.
    If you smoke, this is the most important change you can make. If you need help to quit smoking, there are plenty of help available. Speak to your GP or Pharmacist or find help online.

  • Maintain a healthy blood pressure

    People with high blood pressure are one and a half times more likely to have AMD than those with normal blood pressure.
    If you have high blood pressure, you can help to lower it by reducing salt in your diet. Speak to your GP or Pharmacist for further advice. Many pharmacies have facilities to measure your blood pressure.

  • Have a healthy diet

    A healthy diet can help to protect your eyes and heart and has many other benefits, such as helping you to reach a healthy weight for your height (in conjunction with regular physical activity) and reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

So what is a healthy diet?

  • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables

    Antioxidants in fruit and vegetables protect the body against oxidative damage.
    Vitamins A, C and E are powerful antioxidants, and so are the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin.
    Eat plenty of green leafy vegetables such as kale, broccoli and spinach as these contain high levels of lutein.

  • Cut saturated fats from your diet

    Saturated fats increase cholesterol levels. Too much cholesterol in your blood can increase your risk of getting heart and circulatory diseases and is also a risk factor for developing AMD.
    Sources of saturated fats include fatty meat and dairy products.

  • Eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids

    Omega-3 fatty acids have been found to protect the heart and blood vessels. They may reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels and lower blood pressure. Some studies have reported a benefit in AMD.
    Good sources of omega-3 include oily fish (such as mackerel and salmon), and nuts and seeds (such as walnuts and pumpkin seeds).

  • Don’t drink alcohol to excess

    Alcohol has been shown to increase the rate of breakdown of antioxidants. Regularly drinking alcohol excessively also increases the risk of developing high blood pressure.

If you suffer from AMD, speak to your Eye Specialist whether an AREDS2 supplement would be beneficial to you.