There’s no way to remove all risk of age-related eye disorders such as cataracts, macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetic eye disease, low vision, and dry eye, but we know for sure that there are foods that improve eyesight.
For example, lack of vitamin A causes night blindness, so carrots are good for you since they contain beta carotene which converts to vitamin A.
It’s believed that some nutrients and compounds act as antioxidants and reduce inflammation. These include carotenoids, lutein, and zeaxanthin — all available through the pigmented skin of fruits and vegetables.
Unfortunately statistics say half of us will develop cataracts at some point; however, it is very treatable with outpatient surgery. A less treatable eye disease is Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD). This is the leading cause of blindness with older people.
The most noted foods that improve eyesight contain vitamins C, vitamin E, selenium, and beta carotene.
Multiple studies show that a diet rich in antioxidants put you at reduced risk for cataracts and AMD. One British study found older vegetarians to be 30-40 percent less likely to develop cataracts compared to meat eaters. Helpful nutrients include the following:
Improving Eyesight – Eating the Right Foods
This mineral is found in the retina. It defends against inflammation and the effects of light. Sources of zinc are plentiful in liver and seafood. You can also find zinc in brewer’s yeast, dairy products, beans, and whole grains.
Multiple large studies link eating fish to reduced risk of AMD and cataracts. One study found women who consumed the most omega-3s from fish were 40 percent less likely to develop AMD.
Ginkgo and bilberry are often added to eye supplements. Bilberry contains carotenoids that are good for vision. Ginkgo is believed to help with oxygenation.
Studies seem to indicate that the dietary habits that promote cardiovascular health also protect the eye. Your diet should focus on colorful fruits and vegetables — leafy greens like kale, collards, and spinach. Other good choices are:
Healthy fats benefit the retina so opt for oily fish such as sardines, herring and anchovies. Nuts also contain healthy oils but stay away from the heavily salted kind as well as the honey-roasted variety which contain excessive sugar and corn starch.
Lastly, don’t smoke and avoid smoky rooms. Smokers develop AMD at three to four times the rate of nonsmokers. If you’re a nonsmoker living with a smoker, you’re effectively doubling your risk of developing AMD.
Eye exams should be every 3-5 years, and after age 39, exams should be performed more often depending on your personal health situation. By age 50, you should have a complete dilated eye exam. After that, your eye care professional will help you establish a schedule for regular exams.