Researchers have found that adopting a healthy lifestyle to maintain cardiovascular health is also beneficial for the eyes. Patients who best follow official recommendations are indeed less at risk of developing four eye diseases: age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, cataracts and glaucoma.

We consume foods such as fruits and vegetables in particular to maintain good cardiovascular health, but a recent study by researchers at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) shows that this type of diet is just as important to ensure to the health of our eyes. The latter, published in the American Journal of Medicine, indicates that ideal cardiovascular health, which is the sign of a healthy lifestyle, is associated with a lower probability of developing eye diseases and in particular retinopathy. diabetic, retinal damage leading to a risk of visual impairment or even blindness.

According to data from the scientific team, around 2.2 billion people worldwide suffer from eye diseases resulting in visual impairment or blindness. The main causes are age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, cataracts and glaucoma. “Previous studies have observed associations between eye disease and individual lifestyle factors such as smoking, obesity or high blood pressure. ”, Explains the study's principal investigator, Prof. Duke Appiah. In 2010, the American Heart Association developed a list of seven factors for ideal cardiovascular health, known as “Life's Simple 7” (LS7).

Control your cholesterol and blood sugar levels

The list in question includes stopping smoking, engaging in physical activity, maintaining a healthy weight and eating a balanced diet, monitoring your cholesterol and blood sugar levels (also called blood sugar levels). or glucose level in the blood) and regular blood pressure monitoring. The study consisted of understanding how respecting this lifestyle can also benefit eye health. Because it turns out that the vascular system of the eye and the cardiovascular system share common characteristics: it is therefore possible that the known risk factors for cardiovascular disease interact to cause eye disease as well.

“What makes our study unique is that unlike other studies that have simply looked at the relationship of a risk factor, such as diet, with a single eye disease, say cataract, we Let's take a look at them as a whole and how they can affect the main causes of blindness. », Adds Professor Appiah. Researchers evaluated data from 6,118 adults aged 40 or older who participated in a national health and nutrition survey between 2005 and 2008. During those years, eye disease diagnoses were self-identified. -declaration and from medical tests: retinal photographs, evaluation of the optic nerve ...

Prevent both cardiovascular and eye disease

The overall prevalence of eye disease among respondents was 23% and included cataracts (10.6%), age-related macular degeneration (8.1%), glaucoma (6.1%) and retinopathy diabetic (4.8%). In addition, approximately 5.6% of participants suffered from at least two of these eye diseases. The researchers observed that a healthy lifestyle according to this "Life's Simple 7" list was well associated with a reduction in the risk for these four eye diseases. After controlling for confounding factors such as age, sex, race, and socioeconomic status, this lifestyle was found to have the greatest effect on diabetic retinopathy.

Thus, the risk of developing diabetic retinopathy was 97% lower among respondents who had optimal cardiovascular health compared to those with inadequate cardiovascular health. The researchers believe these findings are important because they suggest that interventions aimed at preventing cardiovascular disease may also hold promise in preventing eye disease. Since there are common risk factors between eye diseases and cardiovascular diseases, the latter advocate that screening for eye diseases be incorporated into screening for cardiovascular diseases.

 According to Prof. Appiah, "When we screen for cardiovascular disease, we can use the same metrics to screen for eye disease and impact people's lives through prevention." The researchers therefore invite healthcare professionals such as cardiologists and ophthalmologists to collaborate better. "We hope that these results will raise awareness that all of these eye diseases having a dramatic effect on the quality of life of patients can be avoided by adopting a healthy lifestyle, which will also reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease as well as other chronic diseases. », They conclude.