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The Better to See

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You should see about how your eyes are doing! There are dangers- Macular degeneration -- It causes sight loss in the sweet spot, the center of your field of vision. It causes half of all cases of blindness in the United States. Over the next two decades, the number of cases is expected to double. There are treatments for some types of it, but not all. Still, the outlook isn’t all bleak.

A-REDS- the Age Related Eye Disease Study -found a daily mix of vitamins and minerals can halt its progression by 25%. The treatment combines vitamin C and E, beta-carotene, zinc, and copper. There are several available combos with this special vitamin mix, such as Occuvite.

But if you smoke, taking extra beta-carotene may be a problem. It can increase lung cancer risk. But a new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association finds substituting lutein and zeaxanthin for beta-carotene still protects the eyes and may be a safer combination for those who smoke.

Risk of macular degeneration increases with age. Regular long-term use of aspirin has also been linked to increased risk. But aspirin can be life saving, so discuss what’s best for you with your doctor. It’s a necessary risk/benefit analysis.

So see how your eyes are doing, with regular eye exams.