Everyone knows age can affect eyesight, but did you know your health can also negatively affect your eyes? Let’s take a look at some health-related factors that can lead to decreased vision and eye problems.

Smoking

There are many reasons why smoking is bad for you. The most common adverse side effects are lung cancer and cardiovascular disease.  However, smoking can also damage your eyes, causing cataracts, macular degeneration and dry eye. So, if the lung cancer doesn’t scare you away, put down the cigarette for the sake of your eyes.

Nutritional Shortcomings

Vitamins A, C and E as well as lutein, omega-3 fatty acids and zinc deficiencies can lead to an increased risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. Lack of vitamin A can even lead to vision loss and blindness. The best thing you can do is ensure your diet has the nutrients your eyes need or take a multi vitamin as recommended by your doctor.

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Diabetes

Long periods of high blood sugar can damage blood vessels in and around your eyes causing diabetic retinopathy—a condition that blinds many American adults. Diabetes patients are also at an increased risk for cataracts and glaucoma. Talk to your doctor about keeping your diabetes under control in order to protect your vision.

High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure can cause changes to your retina called hypertensive retinopathy. Similar to diabetes, high blood pressure can also damage blood vessels in and around your eyes. Work with your doctor to keep your blood pressure within a healthy range and ensure better health for your eyes.

Autoimmune Diseases

Eye problems are often the first symptoms experienced by patients with an autoimmune disease. Bothersome symptoms like dry, red and itchy eyes are common with autoimmune diseases; however, so are more severe symptoms such as light sensitivity, eye pain, vision changes and vision loss. Treating your autoimmune disease can potentially help to minimize associated eye problems.

Infectious Diseases

Pink eye is one of the most common eye infections.  However, diseases like Shingles, Measles and Lyme disease can also have damaging effects on your eyes. Typically, long-term problems can be prevented with early care and treatment.

Have questions about how these or other health-related factors can affect your eyesight? Contact us today to talk to one of our doctors.

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