By age 50, many of us have already begun to notice subtle changes in our eyesight. Age-related macular degeneration, which destroys the macula, or the part of the eye that provides sharp vision, is a leading cause of vision loss in the US, according to the National Eye Institute. The good news: Study-backed strategies can halt eye aging, plus deliver surprising health bonuses to boot.
Drink Some Black Tea
Sipping a cup of black tea daily can cut the risk of glaucoma by 74 percent, UCLA researchers say. Black tea’s caffeine and plant compounds, or tannins, work together to relax the tiny capillaries in your eyes, preventing damaging blood-pressure surges. As an added bonus, having a cup of tea before each meal can also prevent blood stickiness, cutting your risk of stroke by as much as half.
Play a Game of Tetris
Playing fun, fast-paced games, such as Tetris, for 20 minutes daily can improve our ability to read in dim light— and to drive comfortably at night — by as much as 58 percent according to scientists at the University of Rochester. Turns out, these games train your brain to decode visual input more quickly and accurately. Oddly enough, challenging visual games can also serve as a distraction from pain, tamping down muscle aches in as few as 15 minutes.
Take a Leisurely Stroll
Daily 30-minute strolls can cut your risk of macular degeneration by 70 percent. Explains ophthalmologist Tyler Rim, M.D., gentle exercise encourages the flow of oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood to your delicate What’s more, daily walks prompt the release of anti-aging hormones, helping you to look — and feel — up to 12 years younger than your actual age!
Take a Supplement
Digital devices may tire out weary eyes, but taking 4 milligrams of zeaxanthin and 20 milligrams of blue light– blocking lutein daily can cut symptoms by up to 45 percent. Try Twinlab Ocuguard Blutein gummies ($28.21, Amazon), which contains both, can reduce strain, redness, and stress caused by prolonged exposure.
Taking 1,000 milligrams of vitamin C daily, meanwhile, could cut your risk of developing cataracts, or the clouding of your natural lenses, by 68 percent, erasing free radicals before they can do their damage. Vitamin C can also halt bone thinning, making you 46 percent less likely to develop osteoporosis. Note: Check with a doctor before supplementing.
Warm Your Lids
Warming your eyelids for five minutes daily with a cloth soaked in the hottest water you can stand can help to soothe dry, irritated eyes even more effectively than pricey eye drops. That’s because moist heat stimulates your eyelid glands to release oils that reduce inflammation, prevent dryness, and heal damaged tissues. Sounds A-OK to us!
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.
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