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Why Walks Through Fall Foliage May Reduce Your Glaucoma Risk (Plus Other Vision Tips)

Healthy vision means a healthier mind, and vice versa.


As the autumn leaves put on a show and we venture out to meet up with friends and family, it becomes clearer than ever how much pleasure good vision brings to our lives. Good news: A few simple tricks let you dodge common sight-robbers for decades to come.

What’s more, new research in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease Reports found healthy vision stimulates your mind as you look at the world around you, exercising the parts of the brain that process new information to keep your thinking up to three times sharper.

To Prevent Glaucoma

Once a week, wander your neighborhood to take in changing leaves or spy birds in the trees. This short break is all it takes to reduce your risk of glaucoma, or the gradual loss of vision, suggests UCLA research. The delightful stroll is one of the best ways to boost physical activity and send more nourishing blood flow to your retinas. And for every 10 minutes of movement you add to your week, you’ll lower your glaucoma risk even further.

To Prevent AMD

Nibble on a handful of dried goji berries daily, and a new study in the International Journal of Ophthalmology found you may boost levels of zeaxanthin. The compound shields eyes against high-energy blue light that damages the retina and contributes to the blurring of your central vision that characterizes age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Indeed, University of Wisconsin research found boosting levels of the “eye nutrient” significantly cuts AMD risk. Raw spinach and peas also contain zeaxanthin.  

To Prevent Cataracts

Enjoying a hot toddy nightly may slash the risk of vision-clouding cataracts. Research in Optometry and Vision Science found that small amounts of alcohol daily improve the flow of nutrient- and oxygen-rich blood to the eyes. Plus, a splash of lemon juice in the sipper delivers vitamin C, which Tufts University research says blocks fluid in the eyes from oxidizing and clouding vision, reducing cataract risk.

A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.

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