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Essentials for Eye Health

Eye health is something that we are paying attention to. Macular degeneration is an age-related disorder, often called AMD, and is the leading cause of vision loss, outpacing cataracts and glaucoma as associated with age. If you don’t have a regular eye doctor who can perform an OCT (Optical Coherence Tomography) test, find one who can. You should have this done every year along with your glaucoma test, and no, it doesn’t hurt. 

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Be careful out there.

I was diagnosed with very early-stage macular degeneration, which scared me straight. That was five years ago, and since then, I’ve been all-in on a preventative program. My macular degeneration has actually shrunk, which I find hard to believe – as this sort of thing is supposed to be irreversible – but I will accept that we have stopped the damage from progressing.

Owen McKibbin keeping his eyes safe.

Lutein is essential for eye health. I take a supplement daily, and I also put a handful of organic blueberries with some raw kale in my smoothie every morning — excellent sources of lutein. If you wear glasses, or if you are about to upgrade your sunglasses, most already come with UVA/UVB coating. I recommend an additional coating for HEV light, high energy blue light, which is associated with macular degeneration. This is especially important if you live at higher elevations, or are frequently on snow or on water.

This is the coating I have on my glasses. There are now improved versions of this type of coating which have less of an effect on the reflections that people may see in your glasses. It is a bit spendy, but the upside is that it comes with a 2-year warranty against scratching, which I have used several times. 

I am never outdoors without eye protection.

Macular degeneration doesn’t seem to cause total blindness, but it can impact vision in such a dramatic way that the effect is almost as bad. There are certain activities that I will not do anymore because of the risks to my eyes. If I surf these days, it is only very early in the morning or at sunset. Under the advice of experts who really know about this, I always wear sunglasses when I leave the house. When I am at my computer, which is said to throw off considerable HEV light, I will only remove my coated glasses when I need to do fine color correction on a photograph.

Because of the severity of what can happen, and the permanent disability that will result, I would recommend really paying attention to this. It’s not just about preventing squinting in bright light or looking chic in dark glasses on the street- this is about a serious condition that I, for one, would rather not have.

David Stewart
David Stewart
David is the founder and face of AGEIST. He is an expert on, and a passionate champion of the emerging global over-50 lifestyle. A dynamic speaker, he is available for panels, keynotes and informational talks at david@agei.st.

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