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By James Barber M.D.
Cosmetic Surgery Expert
Updated: July 03, 2008
The gift of sight is one of the greatest blessings we have. It is impossible to place any sort of value on the ability to see the colors of a rainbow or the smiling face of a child you love. All of these "Kodak Moments" become the vivid memories that make our lives worthwhile.

We never really appreciate our vision until it is threatened, and then it is usually too late to help restore it. Age related macular degeneration (AMD) and other congenital maladies such as retinitis pigmentosa can quickly impair our ability to function at work and enjoy our lives. These diseases come in varying degrees, but little can be done to treat them. The trick, instead, is to do what you can while you are healthy to prevent such degeneration from occurring.

To briefly touch on some background info, the macula is the area in the center of the retina which is responsible for fine and detailed central vision. As we age, afflicted patients show atrophy and the loss of critical rod and cone cells associated with AMD. One particularly bad instance of AMD is known as neovascular. This occurs when leaking blood vessels distort the retina and lead to blurred vision and sometimes blindness.

While we've long been told that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, this adage may actually be true for his eyes. Current research shows that our best defense against AMD and related maladies is what we eat. Taking in the proper nutrients through diet and supplementation has been shown to help in the following studies.

Dr. J.P. SanGiovanni of the National Eye Institute in Bethesda, MD showed that after taking into account other nutrient and non-nutrient factors affecting AMD, higher intake of Omega n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and the fish that contain them was linked to a decreased risk of neovascular AMD.
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A recent AMD study of 4,513 subjects was reported in the Journal of Life Extension. The subjects were questioned about both their food consumption and lifestyles. Many of the diet-related questions pertained to the type and preparation of the seafood the subjects ate. The survey's results showed that two servings per week of baked or broiled fish or canned tuna reduced the risk of neovascular AMD by 50%. A similar reduction of 53% was linked to the intake of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid).

Other nutrients known to be good for the eyes include Lutein (20mg daily) and Vitamin A Palmitate (15,000 units daily).

When you think of all the wonderful things your vision allows you to do, it seems foolish not to take the simple initiative to protect it. A few servings of well prepared seafood weekly or a few capsules of supplemental nutrients daily is all it takes to ensure that you'll see all the future has to offer.

Forever Facts:
- Try to relax when you eat. French researchers found that cholesterol and triglyceride levels can double when you are under pressure. "Stress slows down the rate at which fats are broken down, causing them to stay in the bloodstream longer," according to lead researcher Jean Dallongeville, M.D., Ph.D. The changes lead to an increased risk of heart problems.

- When measuring your waistline to gauge weight loss success, it's easy to keep sliding that tape up to lose an extra half-inch. This may make you feel better, but sometimes the bitter truth is important to know. Researchers at the body-composition unit at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital in New York City have come up with a precise new location for measuring changes to your waistline. Stand up straight, with feet together and use your right hand to feel along the left side of your rib cage. Once you feel your last rib, follow it away from your middle until it ends.

Words of Wisdom:

"If you think you can, you can. And if you think you can't, you're right." -Henry Ford

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