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The Eyes Have It And How They Can Keep It

Comparison of health eye vs eye affected by diabetic retinopathyThe eyes are the windows to the soul. They are arguably the sense we rely on the most. But we don’t hear much about keeping them healthy. We hear about obesity and the toll it takes on the body and its part in cancer and type II diabetes, but what about our eyes. Most people, unless they where contacts, don’t get their eyes checked regularly. If you wear contacts the prescription is only good for one year but if you wear glasses you can get away with wearing the same prescription for years.

At this time in our history we are facing a health crises in the form of obesity. The dangerous of obesity are discussed on this site alone quite often. I bring up obesity in a post dealing with eye health because the leading cause of blindness in adults in the US is diabetic retinopathy (DR), which as the name implies, is a common complication of diabetes. It is characterized by progressive damage to the blood vessels of the retina. The retina is the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye which is necessary for good vision. There are four stages of DR based on the amount of vessel blockage to the retina. The more sever the blockage the less blood gets to the retina thus leading to a decline in vision. It typically impacts both eyes. The Centers for Disease Control, CDC, estimates that 4.1 million Americans are impacted by retinopathy and 900,000 by vision-threatening retinopathy. Obviously by reducing your risk of developing type II Diabetes in the first place you can prevent DR.

If you already have type II diabetes managing your disease is key and reversing it if possible is better. Early diagnosis and timely treatment is the best way to reduce the effects of DR. But as many as 50% of diabetics are not getting their eyes examined regularly until its too late for treatment to be effective. Even if you aren’t obese or in danger of DR you are still at risk of other eye conditions that cause blindness such as Age-related Macular Degeneration, Cataract and Glaucoma. The best defense is an outstanding offense. A well-balanced diet rich in lutein, vitamins C and E, and omega 3. Also get your eyes checked regularly. The exam takes about 15-20 minutes and they are checking for all three of these things and more. Early detection and treatment is worth the lifetime of beautiful things to see.

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