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Can Vision Loss be Prevented?

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  • Written By: Karyn Maier
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 30 October 2016
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Technically, the term vision loss applies when vision correction is not possible with the use of eyeglasses or contact lenses. Aside from injury to the eyes, eyesight may become impaired for a variety of reasons. Most commonly, however, vision loss is associated with age-related conditions. In fact, most adults over the age of 40 can expect to experience some degree of vision loss. Fortunately, there are several steps one can take to prevent vision loss from occurring or progressing.

Eyestrain is a major cause of vision loss. In fact, with millions of people now using a computer at work an average of two or more hours each day, computer vision syndrome (CVS) is considered the number one occupational hazard of the 21st century. This extends to children as well, who typically spend even more time staring at a monitor screen. This kind of vision loss is driven by forcing the eyes to constantly refocus in order to register computer images and text, which are projected via thousands of tiny points of light called pixels. However, wearing PRIO computer glasses, which are designed to provide mid-range eyesight needed for viewing a computer monitor, can help prevent excessive eyestrain.

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Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a primary cause of vision loss in adults. This condition is characterized by the gradual deterioration of the central portion of the retina called the macula. The result is the impairment of central vision required to perform daily tasks, such as reading, driving, completing paperwork, and any activity involving fine detail. The key to deterring vision loss from age-related macular degeneration is early detection. This means staying current with regular eye exams by a vision care professional.

There is considerable evidence to suggest that supplementing with certain vitamins and minerals may help to prevent vision loss, or reduce its progression. For instance, vitamins C and E exhibit potent antioxidant activity that reduces the risk of damage from oxidative stress and free radicals. Omega-3 fatty acids, which are found abundantly in many kinds of fish, have also demonstrated an ability to prevent vision loss. Zinc is another important mineral necessary for optimal retinal function, a deficiency of which has been linked to an increased risk of AMD. In addition, L-carnosine helps to repair DNA strands damaged from excessive exposure to sunlight, and Coenzyme Q10 improves macular pigment density.

A recent study conducted by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory indicates that exercise may help to prevent vision loss. The study, one of the first of its kind, involved more than 40,000 frequent joggers that were monitored for seven years. The researchers found that those who ran five or more miles (8.05 kilometers) per day experienced a 35 percent reduced risk of vision loss due to cataracts, while those who ran more than 2.4 miles (3.86 kilometers) per day cut their risk of AMD approximately in half. While these statistics may not represent the average person and activity level, the researchers are confident that moderate exercise may also contribute to the prevention of vision loss.

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