Top 10 foods for healthy eyes
People often believe that vision problems are an inevitable result of aging or eye strain. In fact, eating a healthy diet can greatly reduce the risk of eye health problems.
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The AREDS study (Age-Related Eye Disease Study), published in 2001, showed that certain nutrients such as zinc, copper, vitamin C, vitamin E and β-carotene may reduce the risk of age-related eye disease by 25%.
This study was updated in 2013 to test different versions of the original formula. Variants included omega-3 fatty acids, zeaxanthin, lutein and β-carotene. The study showed that some combinations may work better than others.
Further studies agree that omega-3 fatty acids (including DHA-Docosahexaenoic acid), copper, lutein and zeaxanthin are vital to eye health.
In this article, we look at the facts about 10 nutrient rich foods to boost eye health. We also list healthy eye tips and eye health warning signs.
The ten best foods for eye health
Organizations such as the American Optometric Association (AOA) and the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) continue to recommend the nutrients necessary for eye health, according to the AREDS Study.
These references suggest the following 10 foods, rich in nutrients:
Many fish are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
Fatty fish are fish that have oil in their gut and body tissue, so eating them provides higher levels of omega-3s. The fish that contain the most beneficial omega-3 levels are:
- tuna fish
Some studies have found that eating fish can reverse dry eyes, including dry eyes caused by excessive computer use.
2. Nuts and legumes
Nuts are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids. They also contain high levels of vitamin E, which can protect the eye from age-related damage.
Nuts are available for purchase in most grocery stores as well as online. Nuts and legumes that are beneficial for eye health are:
- brazilian peanuts
Like nuts and legumes, seeds are high in omega-3s and a rich source of vitamin E.
Seeds are available for purchase at most grocery stores as well as online. Seeds high in omega-3 are:
- chia seeds
- flax seeds
- hemp seeds
4. Citrus fruits
Citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C. Just like vitamin E, vitamin C is an antioxidant recommended by the American Optical Society to combat age-related eye damage.
Citrus fruits rich in vitamin C are:
- lemon Tree
5. Leafy green vegetables
Leafy green vegetables are rich in lutein and zeaxanthin and are also a good source of vitamin C.
Well-known leafy green vegetables are:
Carrots are rich in vitamin A and β-carotene. Beta-carotene gives carrots their orange color.
Vitamin A plays an essential role in vision. It is a component of a protein called rhodopsin, which helps the retina absorb light.
The body needs β-carotene to produce vitamin A.
7. Sweet potatoes
Like carrots, sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene. It is also a good source of antioxidant vitamin E.
Beef is rich in zinc, which has been linked to better long-term eye health. Zinc can help delay age-related vision loss and macular degeneration.
The eye itself contains high levels of zinc, especially in the retina and the vascular tissue that surrounds the retina.
Meats such as chicken breast and pork also contain zinc, but at lower levels than beef.
Eggs are an excellent source of lutein and zeaxanthin, which can reduce the risk of age-related vision loss. Eggs are also good sources of vitamins C, E and zinc.
Unsurprisingly, a life-giving fluid is also vital to eye health. Drinking plenty of water can prevent dehydration, which can reduce the symptoms of dry eye.
Recommended daily intake
The daily nutrient recommendations, as suggested by the American Academy of Ophthalmology, that benefit eye health and slow the progression of eye disease are:
- 500 mg of vitamin C.
- 400 IU of vitamin E.
- 10 mg lutein
- 2 mg zeaxanthin
- 80 mg of zinc oxide
- 2 mg of copper oxide
Other eye health tips
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the following strategies can help ensure healthy eyes:
- use sunglasses outside, as excessive sun exposure can cause cataracts
- the cessation of smoking
- regular eye examinations, especially if there is a family history of eye diseases
- the use of eye protection in contact with potentially eye irritants or hazardous chemicals
- hand washing before applying contact lenses
- use contact lenses only for the period recommended by your doctor or manufacturer
- protect the eyes from the stress caused by using a computer by looking away every 20 minutes at a distance of about 20 meters, for 20 seconds
Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness. People with diabetes need to monitor their blood sugar levels carefully, take medication exactly as prescribed by their doctor, and manage their carbohydrate intake by eating low-glycemic foods.
Early treatment of eye health problems can prevent it from getting worse. Thus, people who notice changes in their vision, should schedule a comprehensive ophthalmological examination.
Eye health warning signs
Possible symptoms that a visually impaired person may experience are:
- frequent changes in visual acuity
- distorted images in the field of view
- waves or flashes in the field of view
- reduced peripheral vision
A diet rich in fruits, vegetables and lean protein is enough to ensure that people get the right nutrients for their eye health.
People who can not get these nutrients from their diet should ask an ophthalmologist about eye health supplements.
People with vision problems or people on very restrictive diets should talk to an ophthalmologist about the right foods for their eye health.