Doctors probe lifestyle behaviours that protect the eyes

Natural Health News – An active lifestyle – and the occasional drink – are associated with a lower risk of poor vision with age, according to new research.

Visually impaired – vision loss often caused by eye disease, trauma or congenital or degenerative disease that can not be corrected with glasses or contact lenses -. It is associated with poorer quality of life and, when severe, loss of independence

To help determine ways to reduce the growing burden of visual impairment, researchers at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health examined the relationship between the incidence of visual impairment and three styles of modifiable lifestyle: smoking, drinking alcohol and being physically active.

The research, published in the journal Ophthalmology was carried out as part of the Study of Beaver Dam Eye, a cohort study population-based long-term 1988 -2013 of nearly 5,000 adults aged 43-84 years.

Long-term protection

The researchers found that two of the behaviors studied were of protection:

Physical activity over 20 years, 6.7% of sedentary people and 2% of physically active people (people who engage in regular activity three or more times a week) developed visual impairment. After adjusting for age, these figures show a 58% decrease in the odds of developing visual impairment in those who were physically active compared to those who were sedentary.

occasional drinking Over 20 years, 11% of non-drinkers (people who have not consumed alcohol in the past year) developed visual impairment, while 4.8% occasional drinkers (those who consumed alcohol in the last year, but reported less than one serving in an average week) did. After adjusting for age, these figures show a 49% decrease in the risk of visual impairment in those who were occasional drinkers compared to those who did not consume alcohol.

The authors do not specify what type or ‘drink’ – but previous evidence suggests a protective role for antioxidant resverarol, found in red wine

. Just as it seems that the combination of physical activity and allowed the occasional drink was added protection.

Over a period of 20 years, the incidence of VI in which occasionally drank and were physically active was 5.9% compared with 25.8% of women who had not used alcohol in the last year and were sedentary.

Changes in diet

Heavy drinkers and smokers compared with people who never drank a lot and has never smoked, has a small increased risk of deficiency visual.

“While age is usually one of the most strongly associated factors for many eye diseases that cause visual impairment, which is a factor that can not change,” said Ronald Klein, MD, MPH, principal investigator study.

“lifestyle habits like smoking, drinking and physical activity, however, can be altered. Therefore, it is promising in terms of possible prevention, these behaviors are associated with the development of the visual impairment in the long run. However, more research to determine whether modifying these behaviors actually lead to a direct reduction in the loss of vision “is needed.

The loss of vision in one growing problem

It is estimated that by 2020, it is expected that the number of people in the United States visually impaired to increase at least four million. This is a 70% increase since 2000 and is due to the increasing aging population and the prevalence of eye disease age-related.

In the UK the number of people also fits with vision loss to increase dramatically. It is predicted that by 2050 the number of people with vision loss in the UK will double to nearly four million .

Visually impaired – vision loss often caused by eye disease, trauma or congenital or degenerative disease that can not be corrected with glasses or contact lenses – is associated with a poorer quality of life and when severe, loss of independence. It develops slowly over years may most estimates suggest that about 50% of vision loss can be avoided by taking proactive measures early in life to protect her.

See our article Seeing the benefits – protecting your vision for more practical suggestions

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