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Ways to improve vision | Dr. Petter
We often take our vision for granted, only to realize how precious our eyesight is when threatened or jeopardized.
Normal age-related changes can begin as early as our 30s. Some examples include: producing less tears, the cornea becomes less sensitive, the pupils become small in size and react slower in response to light changes. The fat pads around our eyes decrease, as a result the eye sinks into the socket, decreasing peripheral vision.
In addition, visual acuity decreases, leading to difficulty focusing close-up, prompting many to initially purchase readers.
There are many things you can do to see more clearly and perhaps delay the inevitable aging process. Eat an "eye-healthy diet." Regularly eat brightly colored fruits and vegetables, as they are packed with vitamins C, D and A. Carrots are excellent sources of beta carotene, another eye-healthy nutrient.
Fish contains omega-3, which can help decrease the risk of developing macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in the elderly.
If you are not a fruit and vegetable eater, consider taking an eye vitamin. Ocuvite is a vitamin for your eyes. It contains many essential nutrients of maintaining eye health, such as Lutein. zinc, omega-3, beta carotene and vitamins C and E.
Over-the-counter herbal supplements also may assist our eyesight. Ginko and Passionflower can potentially improve night vision and help strengthen the very small vessels in the eyes (capillaries). In addition, these herbs may even help prevent cataracts.
Consider doing an "eye exercise." How? Blink as fast as you can for a few seconds. Then, close your eyes tight, open and repeat. Do this three to four times a day. This simple exercise may help improve your vision.
Lastly, all adults should see their doctor yearly for a physical and a screening eye examination. Individuals with diabetes should see an ophthalmologist annually for a specialized diabetic eye exam.
If you wear glasses or contacts, be sure to see an optometrist to check you prescription.
Certainly, see a doctor promptly if you ever develop eye pain, discharge or experience a sudden loss of vision.
Dr. Linda Petter of Auburn is a weekly feature on KOMO TV/News Radio (1000 AM & 97.7 FM) every Saturday and Sunday 7:45 a.m. and 9:45 a.m., and on a weekday during the morning and evening commute. She trained at the Mayo Clinic and the University of Illinois, Carle Hospital. Petter is chief of the Department of Family Practice at St. Francis Hospital in Federal Way. She is a consumer healthcare advocate and her books, "Healthcare on a Budget" and "Common Medical Sense" are available on Amazon.com. Visit her website, www.DocForAll.com, or call her office at 253-568-0841.