Published by WebMD
EATING HEALTHY FOODS NOW CAN PREVENT VISION PROBLEMS IN THE FUTURE. WE ASKED EXPERTS IN NUTRITION AND OPTOMETRY ABOUT THE BEST FOODS FOR EYE HEALTH.
Eye health and vision typically start deteriorating around age 40, even in healthy adults. One way to promote eye health is proper nutrition. Here are the six best foods for eye health.
“There’s scientific evidence that suggests Vitamin C lowers the risk of developing cataracts,” William T. Reynolds, OD, President of the American Optometric Association, tells WebMD Connect to Care. Cataracts cloud the lens of the eye, which leads to blurry vision.
Reynolds also notes that Vitamin C, taken with other essential nutrients, can slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration, which causes blurred or lost vision. He says that Vitamin C can also slow the loss of visual acuity. The American Optometric Association explains that visual acuity is “the clarity or sharpness of vision”, which is normally measured at a distance of 20 feet.
Some foods that contain Vitamin C are oranges, cantaloupe, and broccoli.
Leafy Green Vegetables
According to Reynolds, leafy green vegetables contain the nutrients lutein and zeaxanthin. These nutrients can help to reduce the risk of chronic eye diseases, cataracts, and age-related loss of vision.
Vegetables like kale, collard greens, and spinach have high concentrations of lutein and zeaxanthin.
“Eggs contain lutein and zeaxanthin, which support eye health and may help protect the eyes from harmful blue light from computers and phones,” Katie Hayes, RDN, Director of Nutrition Communications at the American Egg Board, tells WebMD Connect to Care.
“Eggs are a high-quality protein, which supports healthy muscles with aging,” Hayes says.
“Fatty fish, like salmon, provides omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids which are key for proper vision development and retinal function,” Karen Squier, MD, Chief of Low Vision Services at Southern College of Optometry, tells WebMD Connect to Care.
According to Reynolds, fatty acids like omega-3s maintain the integrity of the nervous system, fuel cells, and boost the immune system.
Almonds are a great source of Vitamin E, which Reynolds says protects cells in the eyes from unstable molecules called “free radicals”. These molecules break down healthy tissue.
Foods Containing Zinc
“Zinc plays a vital role in bringing vitamin A from the liver to the retina in order to produce melanin, a protective pigment in the eyes,” Reynolds says.
Foods that contain high amounts of Zinc are:
- Red meat
- Baked beans
- Breakfast cereals fortified with Zinc
LASIK surgery is also an option for people with some vision problems, but eating nutritious foods can be a good everyday way promote eye health.
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