Vision problems in the U.S. are steadily becoming a serious issue. Data suggests that as many as 21 million Americans have vision problems, and 80 million Americans have eye diseases that could potentially be blinding.[i] As vision loss becomes more and more common, it is important to take stock of what you can do as part of your eye care routine to prevent vision loss and eye disease. The good news is that there are numerous foods you can incorporate into your diet that can help maintain eye health throughout the years.
Eating well is good for the body, and that includes your eyes! When you choose a healthy diet, the same foods that will benefit your eyes will also have a positive effect on the rest of the body. This makes adopting a healthy diet a win-win. Let’s review some of the top ten foods for maintaining eye health.
We’ll start with the most well-known veggie when it comes to eye health: the carrot. Most people will say that carrots are good for your eyes—but, do you know why? Carrots contain vitamin A and beta carotene. (Beta carotene is what gives carrots their orange hue!) Vitamin A is a component of the protein rhodopsin, which helps your retinas to absorb light. It is an essential component of good vision.
Seafood in your diet can help support healthy eyes. Certain fish, such as tuna, salmon, mackerel, sardines, and oysters, are high in omega-3 fatty acids. Eating as little as two 4-ounce servings of fish a week has been shown to correlate to the lowest risk for age-related macular degeneration (AMD).[ii]
3. Nuts and Legumes
Another food rich in omega 3’s? Nuts! These contain vitamin E, a good support for age-related eye damage. Nuts are an easy and portable snack, so stock up on these healthy treats! Good sources of vitamin E include almonds, peanuts, cashews, walnuts, and lentils.
Like nuts, seeds also contain a high amount of omega-3’s, in addition to being a good sources of vitamin E. Look for chia seeds, flax seeds, and hemp seeds.
5. Citrus fruits, peppers, and squash
Citrus fruits are known for being rich in vitamin C. This antioxidant helps prevent age-related eye damage. Popular citrus fruits include lemons, oranges, and grapefruits.
Did you know some common “vegetables” are actually fruits that also contain vitamin C? For instance, bell peppers have the most vitamin C per calorie; plus, they are a good source of vitamin A and E. Squash contains lutein and zeaxanthin, vitamin C, and zinc, and winter squash also contains omega-3’s and vitamin A.
6. Leafy green vegetables
You can’t go wrong including leafy green veggies in your diet. They are excellent sources of vitamin C, vitamin E, lutein, and zeaxanthin. Popular choices in this category include broccoli, spinach, brussels sprouts, and kale.
7. Orange fruits and vegetables
Leafy greens are great, but it turns out, orange fruits and veggie are also excellent for eye health! These include foods like sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, apricots, and mangos. These foods are high in beta-carotene to keep your vision strong.
8. Lean meat
For your overall health, you don’t want to consume too much fatty meat. However, lean meat is a good source of zinc! You can get this benefit from beef, chicken, and pork.
The amazing egg! It contains zinc, lutein, and zeaxanthin. These work together to increase the amount of protective pigment found in the macula, where your central vision is controlled.[iii]
10. Water and Green Tea
When you reach for a beverage, choose water or green tea to support your eye health. Hydration is important for your body and your eyes, and it can help prevent dry eye. You can also opt for a green tea, which contains catcehins; these substances are what give green tea its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Those who already have vision problems should make an effort to mix these foods into their diets to ensure better eye health. However, those who want to improve or correct their eyesight can do so with LASIK eye surgery. This procedure consists of reshaping the cornea and changing the focusing power of the eye.
Not everyone will be a candidate for LASIK. However, the number of those who are eligible continues to increase each year. So, those who were once denied LASIK may now be candidates for the procedure.
If you’d like to find out if you are a candidate for LASIK, schedule a free consultation at a LASIK Vision Institute location near you.
[i] National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. (2017). Eye conditions at a glance. Retrieved from https://nccih.nih.gov/health/eyes/ataglance
[ii] Warner, J. (2007). Eating fish may preserve eyesight. WebMD. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/eye- health/news/20070515/eating-fish-may-preserve-eyesight
[iii] Haddrill, M. (2018). What is age-related macular degeneration? Retrieved from https://www.allaboutvision.com/conditions/amd.htm