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Blindness Risk Factors


Age and genetics are factors for which we have no current control over. However, we can influence the risks associated with smoking, obesity, and lack of exercise, excessive drinking of alcohol, inadequate nutrition and sunlight exposure.


  1. Quit Smoking
    Smoking increases the oxidative stress and contributes to eye disease progression. Stopping smoking improves the overall health and significantly reduces the risk of blindness.
  2. Weight reduction and control
    Obesity has been identified as a modifiable risk factor for Age-Related Macular Degeneration (ARMD), glaucoma, and cataracts. Obesity also makes you more likely to develop diabetes, which increases your risk to develop diabetic retinopathy. As a general rule, your body mass index should be in the range of 18.5 to 24.9.
        Your body mass index = weight (lbs) / (height (in))2 x 703.
  3. Exercise
    Exercise and resulting benefits of weight control vastly improve the chances of lowering the risks of vision problems.
  4. Sunlight and UV protection for eyes
    Simple measures such as wearing protection against harmful sunrays and UV damage by using sunglasses and wide brim hats may pay big dividends in preventing cataracts and other eye diseases.
  5. Do not develop Diabetes Mellitus
    However, if you have diabetes keeping your blood sugar levels under good control can go a long way in preventing the ocular and other complications from the disease. Keeping your hemoglobin A1c readings under 7 is the level needed to minimize complications. Consuming foods with a low glycemic index can help control blood sugar levels better. An annual dilated fundus examination of your eyes is also necessary.
  6. Adequate nutrition derived from your healthy diet
    Your intake of food should include sources that provide better coverage against oxidative stress in the body. Those oxidative fighters include: Omega-3-fatty acids, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Carotenoids, Flavanoids, Anthocyanins and Stilbenes. A conservative recommendation would be for:

      4- servings of fruit per day-serving size- (see below)
      5- servings of vegetables per day: serving size- (see below)
      2- servings of pinkish colored fish per week: serving size- 4 ounces

    The American Cancer Society lists the following amounts of fruit as being equivalent to a single serving size: one apple or orange about the size of a tennis ball, 1/2 cup of cut fruit, 1/4 cup of dried fruit and 3/4 cup of 100 percent fruit juice. Equivalent amounts of vegetables include 1/2 cup of raw or cooked vegetables, one full cup of leafy green vegetables and 3/4 cup of 100 percent vegetable juice.

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    Last Change: 27 November, 2013