Is there a way to protect my eyes from macular degeneration?
By Nancy Gottesman for Live Right Live Well
Until recently, experts knew of few ways to prevent macular
degeneration, the leading cause of vision loss among older Americans.
But now a new study has found that taking vitamins B6, B12 and folic
acid may lower your risk by 34 percent. While the study focused on
5,442 women at risk for heart disease, “it’s reasonable to anticipate a
similar benefit for women who are not at risk for heart disease,” says
study leader William G. Christen, Sc.D., of Brigham and Women’s
Hospital, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School.
While getting B vitamins from food may have the same effect, the
women in the study received relatively high doses -- 2.5 milligrams of
folic acid, 50 mg of B6 and 1 mg of B12 per day -- so it would be
difficult to get the same amounts from food alone, notes Christen. To
protect your eyesight, ask your doctor if you should be taking a
B-complex supplement. What else can you do? “The major avoidable risk
factor for several eye diseases, including age-related macular
degeneration, is cigarette smoking,” says Christen. So if you’re a
smoker, make it a point to kick the habit for your eyesight’s sake.
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