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Cataract Surgery Reduces Fracture Risks

by Cindy Gray

Recent studies indicate that having cataract surgery to fix blurry vision significantly reduces the risk for fracture in patients who are 65 years old or older. The bottom line is that visual impairment such as blurry vision is a major factor in falls, which are the leading cause of fractures in the elderly. Vision plays a key role in providing a reference frame for balance and stability and cataracts impair the ability to focus.

Blurry Vision? Cataract Surgery Reduces Fracture RiskCataracts affect more than 20 million Americans. More than half of all adults will develop them by age 80, according to the National Eye Institute. Cataracts cause clouding in the lens of the eye, resulting in blurred vision. Surgery corrects the cataracts by replacing the cloudy lens with a clear artificial one.  About 3 million cataract surgeries are performed in this country each year. 

Risk factors for cataracts include heredity, advancing age, excessive exposure to ultraviolet light and cigarette smoking. People with high blood pressure and diabetes are more likely to develop cataracts and women are at higher risk than men.

While there are some factors, such as heredity, gender and age, that you can’t control, there are some proactive steps you can take to reduce your risk for developing cataracts:

Don’t smoke: Many studies have confirmed a direct link between cigarette smoking and vision problems, including cataracts. Government-sponsored studies have shown that smoking doubles your risk for cataracts and it significantly increases your chances for developing macular degeneration.

Wear sunglasses: Always wear sunglasses and a hat when you are in the sun. Prolonged UV exposure can increase your chances of developing cataracts because light that enters the eye is mainly absorbed by the cornea and the lens. Make sure the glasses you wear have lenses that block 99 to 100 percent of UV-A and UV-B rays. 

Related: Top 6 Supplements for Improving Your Eyesight

Get adequate nutrition: Your daily diet should include plenty of antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids as they have been shown to lower the risk for cataracts. Millions of Americans take nutritional supplements to ensure they are getting the nutrients they need to maintain vision health.

It is also important to have regular eye check-ups. While eye exams won’t prevent cataracts, they will diagnose them in their earlier, more treatable stages. Diagnostic tools include an eye chart test and eye pressure measurements which are performed by administering a small puff of air into the eye.

An overall healthy lifestyle that includes exercise, adequate rest, proper nutrition and frequent social interaction can help protect you from age-related health maladies. Make the healthy choices that protect both your health and your vision.   

References:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=Risk+of+Fractures+Following+Cataract+Surgery+in+Medicare+Beneficiaries

http://www.nei.nih.gov

http://www.visionfoundation.org

 

 

 

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Natural Ways to Strengthen Your Eyesight

by Nancy Maneely

Many of us end a typical day with blurred vision, pounding headache, eyes that burn and feel gritty ... or any combination of the above. And no wonder! On top of irritants such as air pollution, household chemicals and allergens from pets and seasonal vegetation, consider what we’re doing most of the day:

  • Sitting for long hours at a computer workstation
  • Social networking after work/school
  • Watching TV
  • Playing videogames
  • Texting and using smartphone apps.

Yikes! When you think about it, we’re heaping constant abuse on a very precious gift – our eyesight.

March is Save Your Vision Month, and the American Optometric Association is issuing a special appeal to computer users, asking us to take some simple steps to protect our eye health.

Those of us who sit in front of a computer for long periods of time often encounter a variety of uncomfortable symptoms. Headaches, neck strain, backaches and wrist pain are common, but, sadly, the most prevalent symptoms of prolonged computer use – eye strain, blurred vision and dry eye – are often overlooked. In fact, eye and vision problems are the most frequently reported health-care problems among computer users.

Computer Vision Syndrome

These symptoms contribute to computer vision syndrome, which the American Optometric Association defines as "the complex of eye and vision problems related to near work that are experienced during or related to computer use."

Sitting at a computer generally causes a person to look straight ahead for long stretches, work in a dry office or home environment, and to blink less often. These factors can lead to vision problems.

To prevent developing symptoms – or to alleviate further damage to eyes from strain, it is important to follow good ergonomic practices for your desk setup.

Make sure the computer screen top is below your eye level by about 15 to 20 degrees, and have any reference materials you need between the keyboard and the computer screen level, so you don’t need to move your head to view documents. Other tips include using anti-glare screens and improving lighting, seating position and height.

In general, safeguarding your eyesight means taking care of your overall health with good sleep habits, a balanced diet and regular exercise.

  • Your eyes need time to rest and replenish the nutrient-rich fluids necessary for clear, sharp vision. That means getting good quality sleep – 8 hours if possible – every night.
  • If you suffer from dry eye, use eye drops throughout the day and an over-the-counter nighttime eye gel or ointment. If the problem is severe, consult your health-care practitioner.
  • A balanced diet containing lots of antioxidant-rich vegetables and fruits will help to ensure a healthy blood flow to eyes and brain. Be sure to get plenty of omega 3 fats (walnuts, olive oil, flaxseeds, avocados) and include at least two servings of fatty fish (salmon, tuna, sardines) in your weekly menu.
  • A daily eye health supplement can help you strengthen your eyesight naturally. Look for these ingredients: vitamins A, C, E, B6 and B12; astaxanthin, Alpha Lipoic Acid, lutein, lycopene, vinpocetine, and zeaxanthin.

What is your favorite remedy for soothing tired, overstressed eyes?

Learn More: American Optometric Association, Computer Vision Syndrome Fact Sheet (PDF)

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10 Best Natural Vitamin Supplements

by Health News

Best Natural Vitamin Supplements IVL ProductsThe complex human body needs hundreds of vitamins, minerals and supplements to function healthily. Here are ten of the most important vitamins and minerals, and what foods will provide them.

Magnesium

Although only needed in tiny quantities, magnesium supports more than 300 functions in the body. It can be found in whole-grain bread, spinach, broccoli, nuts and legumes. It helps maintain lower blood pressure, improves vision in those diagnosed with glaucoma and protects the brain from damage by heavy metals in the bloodstream.

Zinc
Zinc is found in animal products, oysters and nuts. It helps the body to heal, boosts immunity and has been shown to support a healthy prostate.

Calcium
The body needs calcium for strong bones and teeth. Taking 1000-1200 mg of calcium per day is particularly important to help prevent bone loss and osteoporosis. It is found mainly in dairy products including low-fat and fat-free options. It is also found to a lesser extent in dark green leafy vegetables. Most people have problems getting sufficient calcium from their diet, so top up with IVL Calcium Complex or the Calcium Magnesium and Zinc supplement with vitamin D. 

Vitamin D
As well as aiding the absorption of calcium supplements, vitamin D supports the immune system. Those not living in a sunny climate, when the body naturally produces vitamin D, should take a supplement of 600-800 IUs. It is also found in oily fish and fortified foods such as cereals and milk.

Vitamin A
Vitamin A has many important roles in promoting healthy eyes and skin, it also supports the immune system. Along with vitamins C and E, vitamin A fights the damage from free radicals in the body.

Vitamin C
Commonly found in citrus fruits, peppers and leafy green vegetables, vitamin C is important for fighting disease and lowering blood pressure. You simply cannot get too much of this vitamin, so consider adding a vitamin C supplement to your natural intake.

Vitamin E
Known as the “elixir of youth”, vitamin E provides far more than just superficial benefits. It fights illness, prevents heart attacks and lessens the effects of aging. Eat generous amounts of avocados, olive oil, sunflower seeds, wheat germ and nuts to top up your vitamin E.

Folic Acid
Vitamin B9, more commonly known as folic acid, is important for brain function and helps prevent heart disease. It is found in liver, kidneys, yeast and leafy green vegetables. Although it is important to all age groups, it is particularly required by pregnant mums and seniors.

Vitamin B12
All the B vitamins play an important role in a healthy body but B12 is particularly diverse. It maintains healthy nerve cells and red blood cells as well as being necessary to make DNA. Meat, poultry, eggs and dairy products are a good natural source of B12. However, as we age our bodies absorb less B12, making it wise to add a supplement in later life.

Vitamin B6
Eating poultry, beans, fish, wheat germ and bananas will provide the body with B6 for clear brain functions and enhanced mood. 
Eating a balanced diet topped up with these essential vitamins and minerals will help you maintain the best possible health.