Keep An Eye on Your Vision Health

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(ARA) – It’s critical to protect your eyes from the sun’s damaging rays to decrease your risk of developing serious vision issues such as cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, the leading causes of blindness.

Maintaining vision health can be especially important for women. In fact, a report from the National Women’s Health Resource Center, “Women and Healthy Vision,” shows that women are at higher risk than men of having vision problems.

Think sun exposure and eyes and you probably think sunglasses. While wearing sunglasses is definitely a good idea when it comes to eye protection, not all sunglassesare created equal. Look for sunglasses that transmit no more than 1 percent UV-B and 1 percent UV-A rays. Sometimes the information on the glasses will say they block at least 99 percent of the UVR.

Other things to look for when selecting a pair of sunglasses include:

* Lenses large enough to completely cover the eye and prevent as much light as possible from entering through the edges of the glasses. Wrap-around sunglasses are best.

* Gray lenses, because they provide the greatest protection.

(ARA) – Caring for eyes includes paying attention to nutrition, with recent studies showing a strong correlation between good nutrition and the prevention of age-related eye diseases.

Approximately 43 million Americans suffer from age-related macular degeneration or cataracts, the two leading causes of vision loss and blindness. By eating foods rich in six nutrients — antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, essential fatty acids, vitamins C and E and the mineral zinc — you can help protect your eyesight and vision.

The AOA recommends the following foods which contain the key nutrients for eye health:

* Lutein and zeaxanthin: Colorful fruits and vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, kale, corn, green beans, peas, oranges and tangerines.

* Essential fatty acids: Fleshy fish like tuna, salmon or herring, whole grain foods, lean meats and eggs.

* Vitamin C: Fruits and vegetables, including oranges, grapefruit, strawberries, papaya, green peppers and tomatoes.

* Vitamin E: Vegetable oils, such as safflower or corn oil, almonds, pecans, sweet potatoes and sunflower seeds.

* Zinc: Red meat, poultry, liver, shellfish, milk, baked beans and whole grains.

For additional information on nutrition and eye-healthy recipes, visit www.aoa.org or luteininfo.com.

* Darker lenses, particularly if you spend a lot of time exposed to UVR.

For more information and a free copy of the “Women and Healthy Vision” report, visit

www.healthywomen.org.

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