What is good for your heart can also be good for your eyes. A lifestyle that optimizes cardiovascular health also reduces the odds for diabetic retinopathy and other vision-related diseases.
New findings by Texas Tech University researchers show an association between circulatory system health and eye disorders. Previous research has linked eye diseases with obesity, high blood pressure and smoking, but the new study is the first of its kind to link ideal cardiovascular health with a reduced risk of eye diseases.
The researchers analyzed nationwide data from more than 6,000 adults over age 40. They looked closely at the American Heart Association’s health metric known as Life’s Simple Seven, or LS7. LS7 is based on seven cardiovascular disease health factors, including a healthy diet, regular exercise, and maintaining a normal weight and blood pressure.
To correlate heart and eye health, they assessed the participants’ LS7 scores. A one-unit increase in beneficial LS7 scores was linked to lower odds of glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy, which is damage to the blood vessels at the back of the eye. The results were published in the American Journal of Medicine.
Overall, people with optimal cardiovascular health had a 97% lower chance of developing diabetic retinopathy than those with less healthy cardiovascular systems. The researchers said other factors may be involved and further study is needed to develop a more definitive association.
More than half of all deaths from cardiovascular and eye diseases are known to be preventable through prevention and early detection, so it’s incumbent on us to keep an eye on our health and watch for any signs of problems.