10 foods to help maintain healthy eyes
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 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 (AREDS). 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 slowed down the progression of AMD by 25%. It's studies such as this that prove that with the right diet and supplements 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 known. Fish contains omega-3. Numerous research findings indicate that omega-3 fatty acids could potentially safeguard the eyes of adults against macular degeneration and dry eye syndrome. Moreover, these essential fatty acids might facilitate the efficient flow of intraocular fluid, reducing the likelihood of elevated eye pressure and glaucoma.
A significant study conducted in Europe revealed that individuals who consumed oily fish, which is rich in DHA and EPA omega-3 fatty acids, at least once a week exhibited a 50% lower risk of developing wet macular degeneration compared to those who consumed fish less frequently than once a week.
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. The vitamins in carrots also help to 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 and helping to slow the progression.
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 help to 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. All three vitamins act as antioxidants which help to slow the ageing process including the development of AMD.
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. To learn more about the benefits of dark chocolate, read our recent blog.
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.
If you have any questions about how diet can help to protect your vision you can use our 'ask a consultant' feature by joining the OcuPlan Free Service.
Very soon, you will also be able to benefit from discounted AREDS2 supplements which slow down the progression of AMD by 25%. To find out more speak to our team on 0207 173 5200.