"Keep Your Eyes on the Prize," a civil-rights anthem from the 1950s recorded by everyone from Pete Seeger to Bruce Springsteen, calls for folks to pay attention to their goals and to have faith that they can win the fight.
Well, for the past decade, ophthalmologists have been telling folks at high-risk for age-related macular degeneration (AMD) to keep their eyes on another prize: preserving their vision.
They can do it by taking supplements of lutein (10 mg) and zeaxanthin (2 mg), as well as DHA-omega-3, zinc, copper, and vitamins C and E.
Lutein and zeaxanthin are carotenoids, vitaminlike pigments that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory powers and are thought to neutralize light-induced eye damage.
They're also the reason eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables helps keep you young.
Carotenoids' red, orange, green and yellow colors are found in tomatoes, carrots, apricots and dark leafy greens like kale.
You also can get them by taking supplements.
But be careful about supplements. Folks without any risk for, or indication of, AMD sometimes take lutein and zeaxanthin in amounts greater than what's recommended for at-risk folks.
And overdoing it can trigger crystal deposits in the retina's macular region (crystalline maculopathy). That can interfere with visual acuity.
So don't take more than minimal supplements unless your eye doc says to, and keep a sharp eye out for a colorful variety of 5 to 9 servings of fruit and veggies daily.
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