How important is your sight

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Your Sight-Learn how to shield your eyes from vision loss: We tend to take our eyes for granted. But you might find your eyesight becoming more precious in the future. In the next 30 years, experts predict we’ll see twice the number of people who are totally blind from common eye diseases.

Fortunately, awareness and proper eye care can help preserve your vision for years to come. Here are the 4 leading causes of blindness in America today and some ways to prevent or minimize them.

1. Diabetic eye disease damages blood vessels in the eyes of people with high blood sugar. Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness among working-age Americans. Risks: The longer a person has diabetes, the greater the risk of retinopathy. More than 40% of those with diabetes beyond 14 years suffer at least some blood vessel damage, but it can happen early in the disease. Prevention: Work with your provider to control your glucose levels. Follow guidelines for regular exercise, diet and routine eye exams. Also get treatment for high blood pressure, cholesterol or kidney trouble.

2. Glaucoma causes increased pressure in your eyes. It’s a major cause of blindness after age 40; yet less than half the estimated 3 million Americans with glaucoma are even aware they have the disorder. Risks: Factors include nearsighted vision, family history, African-American race, cortisone drugs, diabetes, high blood pressure, previous eye injury, severe anemia or shock. Prevention: There is none presently known, but early detection and treatment of glaucoma can stop disease progression and prevent blindness.

3. Cataracts create a cloudy or opaque area in the normally clear lens of the eye. The most common cause of blindness worldwide, cataracts affect more than half of Americans over 65. Risks: Factors include excess exposure to sunlight, female gender, family history, eye injuries, smoking, cortisone drugs and diabetes. Prevention: Wear sunglasses with ultraviolet A and B protection. Don’t smoke. Limit use of alcohol and cortisone. Consume at least 5 daily servings of fruits and vegetables, which contain the antioxidant vitamins C and E and beta-carotene.

4. Macular degeneration damages the part of the eye responsible for central vision. Affecting 15 million Americans, macular degeneration is the leading cause of impaired vision after age 50. Risks: Factors include female gender, early menopause, family history, light-colored eyes, sun exposure, smoking, diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure or cholesterol. Prevention: Smoking a pack or more of cigarettes a day doubles your risk. For women, taking hormones after menopause may help. And daily servings of fruits and leafy greens that contain antioxidants may provide protection for the macula of your eye More Info:

Author: Zeena Mascarenhas

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