08 Sep Foods that are great to maintain eye health
Did you know that embracing a healthy lifestyle can greatly help preserve your vision? Yes, there are certain nutrients you can add to your diet and may reduce the risk of eye health problems as you age. The nutrients of interest that have been shown to help maintain eye health include vitamin C, vitamin E, fatty acids, lutein and zeaxanthin, and zinc.
Let’s look at the foods with these key nutrients that may benefit your eyesight.
1- Dark green leafy vegetables
Dark green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale, and collards are not only a good source of vitamin C, but also loaded with lutein and zeaxanthin. While the human blood has 20 carotenoids, only these two have been connected with eyesight health.
Research shows that lutein and zeaxanthin can improve your eye health, slowing the progression of age-related eye problems like cataracts and macular degeneration. (1)
Eggs are a powerhouse of eye-protecting nutrients, including zinc, vitamin D, as well as lutein and zeaxanthin found leafy green vegetables. Zinc plays an essential role in the absorption of vitamin A from the liver to the retina and choroid, producing melanin that forms a protective pigment in the eyes. (2)
The egg yolks contain good levels of vitamin D which when paired with the carotenoids, can protect the macula from damage that may be caused by the harmful reactive oxygen species, thus improving visual acuity.
The Omega-3 docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) fatty acids found in foods like salmon, tuna, and trout, and sardines support several system functions, including healthy retina functioning and visual development. Deficiency in Omega-3 has been linked to retina degradation, AMD, diabetic retinopathy, and retinopathy of prematurity. (3)
According to researchers at Westmead Institute For Medical Research, eating oranges regularly may significantly improve your eye health and reduce the risk of the progressive loss of your central vision. Besides vitamin C, oranges contain a decent amount of flavonoids that have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that support eye health. (4)
5- Sweet potatoes
This is another type of food you should include in your diet. Just like carrots, apricots, pumpkins, and mangos, sweet potatoes are a rich source of beta-carotene (Source No.5). Well, beta-carotene is a form of vitamin A, which is essential for a healthy night vision. Sweet potatoes also contain some vitamin E that helps protect the cells in the eyes from free radicals, which can destroy the healthy tissues. (6)
6- Broccoli and brussels sprouts
Broccoli and Brussels sprouts are high in vitamin A, C, E, and indole-3-carbonol (I3C). A combination of these antioxidants and indole-3-carbonol (I3C) has been shown to protect the eyes from the free molecules that are damaging to the eye tissues, especially in the retinas (7). It lowers the risk of developing cataracts, AMD, and visual acuity loss.
This article is not a substitute for a consultation with your surgeon. Before choosing to proceed with laser eye surgery your surgeon will have a detailed discussion with you about the right procedure and about the potential complications.
Sources and references
A unique mix of expertise, experience and international reputation, Dr Ron Binetter is the figure behind the Binetter Eye Centre. With more than two decades of hands-on experience in eye surgery, Dr Binetter is a specialist in cataract, lens implantation and laser eye surgery. Learn more about Dr Ron Binetter’s background and qualifications.