For most people, growing older means our vision will start to decline. But there are things all of us can do to help protect our vision, no matter how old we are, including making smart choices in what we eat.
A key component to any eye care plan is eating foods that are good for your eyes. What you eat effects not just your weight but the health and well-being of your entire body. A diet that is high in saturated fats and sugar may give you an increased risk of eye disease. Eating a diet that is full of fruits and vegetables can actually help prevent some eye diseases as well as improving your overall health.
• Lutein and Zeaxanthin – These antioxidants help protect your eyes by limiting the affects of free radicals. Free radicals are molecules that can damage the cells in the body. Some free radicals are found naturally in the body. Others come from pollutants including toxins, tobacco smoke, and high exposure to UV rays from the sun. Lutein and zeaxanthin tend to deposit in the eyes where they help neutralize free radicals and can help block the damage from UV rays. They provide protection against chronic eye diseases including age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. Dark green or bright colored fruits and vegetables including spinach, kale, sweet corn, peas, and broccoli are rich in these antioxidants.
• Vitamin C – This is another antioxidant that can help reduce the effects of free radicals that can damage vision. It slows the progression of age-related macular degeneration, and also slows loss of visual clarity. Vitamin C can be found in many fruits and vegetables, especially citrus fruits, tomatoes, and potatoes.
• Vitamin E – This is another antioxidant that can help protect your vision by limiting free radicals that break down healthy tissue. It can be found in nuts, cereals that are fortified to add vitamin E, and sweet potatoes.