Nutrition and Vision – Tips for Maintaining Eye Health

night visionAs we go through day-to-day living, we constantly face hazards to our vision. Exposure to ultraviolet light can cause damage to the cornea and lens of the eye. Wind, dust, chemical fumes, and extreme temperatures can all have a negative effect on our ocular health. Vibrations from driving, especially on poorly maintained roads, and overexposure to television screens and computer monitors also have deleterious effects on our eyesight.

The more modernization our society experiences, the more likely it is that we are exposing ourselves to environmental dangers that can affect our vision. Given that, it’s important to remember the foundations of good ocular health, especially as it relates to nutrition. Doctors and vision researchers offer the following information on food choices for people who are concerned about maintaining good eyesight into old age.

Nutrition for Vision Health?

Studies by the U.S. National Eye Institute have proven that diets rich with certain types of foods nutrients can have a beneficial impact on your vision. Foods rich in carotenoids – naturally occurring pigments in certain types of vegetables and fruits – can reduce the risk of developing an age-related condition called macular degeneration, in which the central field of vision begins to decay, causing a central blur or blank spot in eyesight. Vegetables rich in carotenoids include leafy greens such as spinach, collard greens, and kale.

What Are Carotenoids?

Carotenoids can be separated into two main groups: xanthophylls, which contain oxygen, and carotenes, which do not. Xanthophylls, particularly lutein and zeaxanthin, can reduce your risk of developing cataracts in addition to lowering your risk of macular degeneration. Foods rich in these carotenoids, in addition to the above-mentioned leafy green vegetables, include broccoli, corn, green peas, romaine lettuce, turnip greens and zucchini. Egg yolks are also a good source of lutein.Also, fat tends to help with the absorption of carotenoids into the body. Since most carotenoid-containing foods are very low in fat, some doctors recommend supplementing a carotenoid-rich diet with foods that are rich in “good” monounsaturated fats, such as avocado.

Food to Maintain Eye Health

Other foods can yield substantial benefits to your eye health too. Blueberries and black currants have been shown to decrease eye fatigue; blueberries and other related fruits also are high in anthocyanins, which have been shown to inhibit cancer cell development and slow arthritis-related inflammation. Cold-water fish including salmon, mackeral, tuna, cod, and sardines are rich in omega-3 oils; populations with diets high in omega-3 oils, such as Eskimo Native Americans, have a very low incidence rate of open-angle glaucoma when compared with other populations that consume less of the oil. Eye doctors also recommend taurine, which strengthens retinal cells, vitamin C, which can slow oxidation damage to the eyes related to light exposure, and zinc, which supports macular and retinal health.

So we need to watch what we eat, because what we see is what we eat.

The following article was written by Colin Watts who works on behalf of both AmeriGlide and US Medical.

Cole Watts

Cole Watts writes on behalf of US Medical Supplies, an online retailer of medical equipment and mobility aides.

4 thoughts on “Nutrition and Vision – Tips for Maintaining Eye Health

  • August 21, 2010 at 2:29 am

    I just came across your site thru BloggerLuv commenting. I have had numerous ops on my eyes and was born with several congital abnormalities. Hence when I was working as a registered nurse I was very interested in ophthalmics.
    It is so true that there are conditions we can prevent or at least slow down with a healthy diet. And as we only get one pair of eyes, we need to look after them.
    It is a real disability losing sight and one that often can’t be reversed in many eye conditions.
    Great article and I hope heaps of people
    read and take note.
    Patricia Perth Australia

    • August 21, 2010 at 11:37 am

      Hi Patricia, thanks for sharing your thoughts and experience. I’m sorry to hear about all you’ve personally been through. Better nutrition can have a number of health benefits even for eye health which is something that many people don’t think too much about.

  • August 18, 2010 at 8:33 pm

    Given the important function our eyes perform for us, it would seem to follow that we’d give them the best care possible, but sometimes we get too busy or we forget to do a few simple things that can keep our eyes healthy but like me that I’m too busy to handle other things, I definitely neglect the value of it. Well, in this article, the tips and the reminder you have given me was so great. Thank you so much


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