March 26th, 2019

To Your Health: Seeing is believing on leafy greens and the eyes

By Medicine Hat News on February 25, 2019.

Have you been squinting your eyes against the glare coming off the snow?

I wear prescription glasses that automatically darken in bright sunlight. Recently I have found my glasses darkening even indoors when bright light is streaming in the windows.

Most of us wear sunglasses in the summer and keep them at hand in the vehicle and at home when we are enjoying the outdoors. Not so much in winter because we perceive the sun as being less of a problem.

The glare coming off snow can be just as harmful to your eyes and we should be fastidious about sunglasses all year long.

I remember doing an interview with someone who had been diagnosed with melanoma of the eye, something we don’t typically think about.

There are some other ways you can protect your eyes. Eat a diet rich in leafy green vegetables for the health of it.

People who have a diet that includes a liberal supply of vegetables such as spinach and beet leaves, which are rich in nitrate, were 30 per cent less likely to develop glaucoma, according to one study.

Glaucoma is caused by damage to the eye’s optic nerve as a result of pressure buildup inside the eye.

Initially there are no symptoms that would indicate glaucoma. There is a gradual loss of peripheral vision and because it happens slowly you may not even be aware of how much sight you are losing. The effects are irreversible. If not treated there can be permanent vision loss.

This is one more reason why it is crucial you have regular eye exams so that the pressure in your eye is monitored and you can be treated when necessary.

Nutrient-rich, leafy green vegetables are believed to improve blood circulation to the eye, a North American study found after studying medical records of tens of thousands of people in their middle age. The study focused on the diets of the participants over a 30-year period.

We already know from a study made public a few years ago that a diet that is rich is leafy vegetables is good for your heart health too. You have nothing to lose.

Here’s to protecting your eyes and here’s To Your Health.

To Your Health is a weekly column by Gillian Slade, health reporter for the News, bringing you news on health issues and research from around the world. You can reach her at medicine or 403-528-8635.

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