How we age is dependent on two factors – our lifestyle and our genes. If your parents aged well then you will probably go on looking good for your age too. But how we live, and where we live in some cases, can also have a major impact on how we age.
Regardless of how well you have concealed your age, your eyes speak the truth about how you have lived your life. They smile, they glare, they show stress and they cry. In short, they give the game away about your age.
Depending on your habits the first signs of ageing around the eyes can appear as early as your twenties or as late as your forties. Non smokers who eat a healthy diet, keep to the shade and wear sunglasses and have good genes are going to have younger looking eyes than their smoking, sun worshipping peers
But it is not just the skin around your eyes that ages. The eye itself and your vision also fall victim to ageing. Of all the five senses vision is perhaps the most precious.
The eyes are a delicate organ and the most vulnerable to stresses and irritants of everyday living including UV light, pollution, computer screens, diet, etc. However there is evidence that some age-related eye disorders, including cataracts, age-related macular degeneration and glaucoma can be prevented or helped by good nutrition.
As we live and breathe we generate free radicals, which are unstable molecules that can cause harm. However, environmental exposures like sunlight (UV rays), intense heat, tobacco smoke, smog, pesticides, exhaust fumes, drugs, alcohol and stress contribute to the formation of billions more free radicals. These molecules pose a threat to the delicate tissue of the retina and are a contributing factor in the development of age-related eye conditions, including AMD, glaucoma, and cataracts.
By focusing on good nutrition, we can provide our eyes with essential nutrients that possess antioxidant properties to neutralise the damaging effects of free radicals. Including a variety of nutrient-rich foods in your diet, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and healthy fats, can supply you with vital vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that support eye health.
5 tips to maintain healthy eyes
- Eat plenty of raw fresh fruit and vegetables because cooking destroys anti-oxidants. This can be easier than you think – chop up carrots and other suitable vegetables and keep them as crudités in the fridge – an ideal and healthy snack.
- Try to steam vegetables instead of boiling them, retaining as many nutrients and minerals as possible.
- Bilberries are similar to blueberries, but around four-times richer in anti-oxidant properties. These berries are high in anthocyanidins, a type of flavonoid, with powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can protect against oxidative stress and inflammation – key factors in age-related eye conditions. Anthocyanidins improve blood flow, providing essential nutrients to the retina and reducing the risk of macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy. Their light-filtering abilities shield the eyes from harmful UV radiation and blue light, while their antiangiogenic properties inhibit abnormal blood vessel formation. Including anthocyanin-rich foods like berries, cherries, grapes, and purple sweet potatoes in your diet can support healthy eyes and help prevent eye-related issues.
- Protect from UV Rays: Always wear sunglasses that block 100% of UV rays when outdoors to shield your eyes from harmful ultraviolet radiation. Wearing eye protection helps prevent cataracts and reduces the risk of age-related macular degeneration. Even Winter sun can damage the eyes, particularly when it is low in the sky.
- Increase the amount of Vitamin E in your diet. It is mainly found in foods containing ‘good’ fats such as wheatgerm oil, avocado, unprocessed wholegrain cereals, nuts (especially almonds) and seeds (especially sunflower seeds). Small amounts of vitamin E are also found in green leaves, fruit such as kiwifruit, tomato and mango, and in the fatty parts of meat. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant, and its main function is to protect fats in the body from damaging chemical reactions known as oxidation. In this role it helps to protect cell membranes, artery walls and circulating fats (cholesterol, triglycerides and free fatty acids) as well as body fat stores. It has been suggested that this antioxidant action of Vitamin E may prevent or delay the onset of chronic diseases associated with oxidative stress such as coronary heart disease, arthritis and cataracts.
If you found Help ageing eyes avoid AMD: 5 essential steps to preserve your sight helpful, you’ll find more simple ways to safeguard eye health in later life on our Health channel.Tags: anthocyanidins, antioxidants, eye health Last modified: May 12, 2023