According to a recent study, women with a genetic predisposition for age-related eye health issues significantly increase their odds of developing the eye health problems if they smoke heavily, don’t exercise or don’t eat a balanced diet. Age-related eye health issues can cause severe vision loss in adults over the age of 55, affecting millions of Americans each year.
The investigative team conducting the study evaluated the diet and exercise patterns of 1,663 women and categorized them into lowest, moderate and highest risk groups. These women were asked if they smoked and, if so, for how many years and how often. Almost 340 women in the study developed age-related eye health issues. Ninety-one percent had an early stage of these issues.
“If you have a family history of age-related eye health issues, the good news is that the study findings suggest that there are things you can do to potentially lower your risk of developing age-related eye health issues yourself,” said Julie A. Mares, Ph.D., at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where the study was conducted. One of those things is to quit smoking.
Cigarette smoke contains more than 4,500 chemicals, which includes arsenic, formaldehyde and ammonia. These chemicals are inhaled into the body and then transported to the fragile tissue of the eye by the bloodstream. There, they damage the structure of cells. These oxidants essentially age your vision and can cause low macular pigment; a key risk factor of age-related eye health issues.
Fortunately, quitting smoking isn’t all you can do to protect yourself from age-related eye health issues. Zeaxanthin and lutein are two nutrients found in the back of the eye, protecting it from harmful blue light and oxidants. However, we don’t eat enough foods that contain these nutrients, and our bodies do not produce them. That’s why taking an eye vitamin that has enough dietary zeaxanthin and lutein is the easiest way to maintain healthy vision.
Learn more ways to keep your vision healthy in the ebook below.