Everyone knows that proper diet and nutrition have advantages for health, but did you know that it is beneficial to your eyes as well? A diet rich in beta carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, zinc, omega-3 fatty acids and certain vitamins can also help protect against vision loss, particularly age related macular degeneration (AMD).

AMD diminishes central vision and currently affects the vision of more than 2 million Americans, ages 50 and older. AMD is a progressive disease that if left untreated, can result in severe vision loss and even blindness. The exact cause of AMD is unknown, but risk factors for the disease include age, race, smoking, family history and health conditions such as cardiovascular disease and hypertension.

eyes and nutrition

A wide variety of foods including lentils, grapes, carrots, bell peppers, broccoli, spinach, sweet potatoes, kale, certain kinds of fish, turkey and some kinds of nuts, have been shown to aid eye health. Although there are a variety of available over-the-counter supplements designed for vision and eye health, a doctor should always be consulted before use.

Foods that contain refined starches and are high in sugar can be damaging to vision. A study by Tufts University showed that high-glycemic foods cause a dramatic rise in blood sugar, which over time, may damage the retina and capillaries in the eye by promoting oxidative stress and inflammation. Soda and sugary drinks, candy, baked goods,  some cereals , white rice, foods made with white flour, such as white bread and pasta, should be avoided or limited.

Other healthy habits can lead to healthy vision. The risk of eye disease and vision loss can be lowered by:

  • Avoiding trans fats
  • Quitting smoking
  • Controlling blood pressure and cholesterol
  • Exercising regularly
  • Visiting your optometrist regularly

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