Noticing a change in your vision is a little like watching your neighbor get thin: It can happen so slowly that you don't notice it until his jeans fall down. Seeing wavy lines instead of straight ones, or gradually developing blurred vision in the center of your line of sight, are both signs of age-related macular degeneration, the top cause of vision loss after age 60. Don't wait until you're invited to join AARP to beat the odds. Use the following smart strategies to keep your vision (and your arteries) clear:
- Take half a multivitamin in the morning and the other half at night. A 7-year study found that women who took supplements, which included B6, folic acid, and B12, were far less likely to develop macular degeneration. Preserve your vision with DHA omega-3 fatty acids, too.
- Watch your numbers. High blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol, high triglycerides, and high weight are linked to macular degeneration.
- Eat nuts, 100% whole grains, and lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, including leafy greens. All of these foods are full of eye-essential nutrients that your peepers love: vitamins C and E, zinc, and carotenoids (beta carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin).
- Quit smoking (if you smoke). Smokers -- and breathers of secondhand smoke -- are four times more likely to develop macular degeneration.
- Walk at least 30 minutes a day. Exercise isn't good for just your heart, waist, lungs, stress, skin, and sex life. It's also good for your eyesight. Workouts help nourish your retina (where the macula's nerves are) with optimal oxygen.