It’s perfectly normal to be a bit concerned about your memory, as you get older. And if a little senior moment has left you worried it’s the first sign that something more sinister is going on you’re not alone. We’ve all been there.
But the truth is most brain burps are nothing to worry about. In fact, experts say often so-called senior moments are the result of nothing more than not paying attention.
Can you remember a random set of words or numbers and repeat them back to someone? Or can you solve some basic math problems in your head?
If so, chances are your memory is perfectly fine. And if you’re still concerned, your doctor can have you perform some simple tests to confirm it.
But researchers just uncovered a surprising link between vision loss and brain health. And it’s one none of us should ignore.
Declining vision linked to declining cognition
The study, published in JAMA Ophthalmology, found a clear association between declining vision and declining cognitive function. For eight years, the researchers from the University Of Miami Miller School Of Medicine tracked the eyesight and mental function of more than 2500 volunteers ranging in age from age from 65 to 84.
Over the eight years, everyone in the study lost some visual acuity. But the folks whose vision declined the most—from macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataracts, or other physical reasons—also lost the most mental function.
The volunteers who still had reasonably good eyesight, as well as those who had taken measures to correct their failing eyesight by wearing glasses or having surgery, showed the least amount of cognitive decline.
Researchers are still working on figuring out exactly why eyesight and brain health are so closely linked. But many experts believe it may be as simple as the fact that waning vision makes it more difficult to perform the kinds of activities which keep your brain sharp. After all, it’s hard to complete a crossword puzzle or read sheet music, for example, if you can’t see the page in front of you clearly.
The scientists are continuing to explore the vision and brain health link. But in the meantime, what this research means to you and me is we need to start paying closer attention to our eye health if we’re serious about keeping our brains as sharp tacks.
Protect your vision AND your memory
Following are six steps you can take to start protecting your vision AND your precious memories at the same time.
1. Eat a healthy diet:
Your eyes love leafy greens, red and orange veggies, eggs and fatty fish. And, bonus, it turns out your brain loves them, too. Plus be sure you don’t skip on the deeply colored fruits. They contain potent antioxidants that can help you fight back against vision-stealing oxidative stress.
2. Focus on eye-healthy nutrients:
Your eyes need plenty of lutein, zeaxanthin, zinc, and omega-3s. A well-balanced diet will help you get most of them. But a quality supplement can help fill in any holes in your diet.
3. Wear sunglasses:
Too much sun isn’t just damaging to your skin. UV light can cause vision problems and contribute to cataracts too. Find a pair of sunglasses that block 100 percent of UVA and UVB light. They may cost a little more, but they’re worth the investment.
4. Control your blood pressure:
High blood pressure can damage the blood vessels and retinas in your eyes, as well as the optic nerve. And this can cause severe vision problems.
5. Get plenty of exercise:
Researchers, as well as the folks at the American Academy of Ophthalmology, say that regular exercise can help protect your eyesight. Plan to get at least 30 minutes of exercise five to seven days a week to maintain your health and your vision.
6. Exercise your eyes:
Experts say exercising your eyes can help you maintain or improve your vision too. Talk to your eye doctor for advice or check out our free report Toss the glasses and see like a teen again.
Fighting vision loss has always been a part of aging. But with our new insights about the link between eyesight and cognitive decline, it’s even more critical that we keep a close watch on our eye health. Protecting your eyes won’t just help you see better, it can help you think better too.
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