We all know the importance of maintaining a healthy diet. But did you know that the food that you eat plays a big role in keeping your eyes healthy? As we age, the chances of our eyesight deteriorating increases, as does the likeliness of developing a long-term eye condition. There are many things you can do to reduce the risk of of developing conditions such as glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and watching what you eat is one of them.
Diet regulation can serve as one of the best ways to maintain eye health. In the US in 2019, a study was conducted called the Age-Related Eye Disease Study. It analysed around 3,600 people with varying stages of AMD who were all provided with a specialist dietary supplements that included antioxidants such as vitamin C and vitamin E. The results concluded that taking a high-dose dietary supplement reduced the risk of advanced AMD by 25%. It's studies such as this that prove that with the right diet you really can help to protect your eyesight.
We've put together a list of 10 foods that help to support your sight:
We'll start with one of the more well know. Fish contains omega-3, which is proven to help protect your eyes from AMD and glaucoma. We'd suggest fish such as salmon, tuna, sardines, trout and mackerel as they all have a high content of omega-3 fatty acids.
Yes, there is truth in the myth! Carrots really do help you see in the dark, They contain beta carotene and Vitamin A, this helps with the production of rod and cone cells in your eyes, which is good for your sight in low lighting. Carrots also reduce the risk of eye disorders such as cataracts and glaucoma.
Almost all of us at some point as children will have pulled a face when served leafy greens such as kale or spinach. But there's reason for them being named 'super foods'. Vegetables such as kale contain antioxidants such as lutein and zeaxanthin. Numerous studies have shown that having these antioxidants in your diet helps to protect your eyes from both ultraviolet damage and blue light from screens and reduces the risk of developing eye disorders such as macular degeneration and cataracts.
Berries and citrus fruits such as oranges and grapefruit contain a high content of vitamin C which ensures the maintenance of healthy blood vessels located in the eye. Other foods that contain high levels of Vitamin C are strawberries and bell peppers. They all help in reducing the chance of developing macular degeneration later in life.
Eggs are a double whammy when it comes to eye health. The yolk of an egg contains high sources of Vitamin A, zeaxanthin and lutein. Vitamin A helps to protect the cornea and lutein and zeaxanthin lowers the risk of macular degeneration and the formation of cataracts. So, how do you like your eggs in the morning?
Another food type that is rich in Vitamin A and zinc are dairy products. Foods such as milk and yoghurt help to protect the cornea and like carrots, they also help us to see in low light.
Like fish, nuts contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids which reduce your risk of AMD and glaucoma. Nuts also have high levels of vitamin E which protects against age-related damage to your vision. We'd suggest including nuts such as almonds, walnuts, pistachios and peanuts within your diet.
Sweet potatoes are an all-rounder when it comes to including vitamins to help your eye health. They contain beta carotene which is a source of vitamin A and also Vitamin C and Vitamin E. Vitamin A slows the development of AMD and can help prevent dry eye, and Vitamin C and E are both highly beneficial to your eyesight.
Recent research has suggested that grapes can help protect from cataracts. Grapes contain antioxidants which are suspected to prevent the initial clumping of protein in the lens.
And finally - Dark Chocolate
Yes, dark chocolate really does help to protect your eyes. Harvard Medical School says that cocoa flavanols in chocolate promote a higher flow of oxygen and nutrients to the eye’s blood vessels which aids general eye health and has a positive effect on vision.
So, there you have it. 10 foods to help maintain healthy eyes. But for even more reassurance that your eyes are as healthy as can be, we encourage everyone to have a regular eye exam. Conditions such as glaucoma can go undetected until you notice your vision deteriorating. At this point it is much more difficult to treat. The earlier its diagnosed, the higher the chance of reducing sight loss.
Our mission is to protect people’s vision by making eye care more accessible and affordable for the millions of patients in the UK who require monitoring for their long-term eye conditions. To find out more call us on 01215 170423.