Eye Health Tips
Eye health discussion from Dr. Azizi and West Florida Eye Care
Keeping Your Vision Healthy with Nutrition for Your Eyes
Eye nutrition might not be something that keeps you up at night, but keeping your eyes well-fed can help prevent many eye conditions like cataracts, dry eyes, macular degeneration, night-vision deterioration. Eye nutrition has moved beyond the proverbial carrot; doctors have narrowed down some essential nutrients that contribute to eye health or help stave off conditions that decrease the quality of eyesight.
The quick summary might come as no surprise: eat a varied diet, but include lots of fresh vegetables–especially leafy greens–and fruit. Include nuts, fish, beans, and grains. Healthy cereals often contain a wealth of these nutrients, as well–check the labels!
Some key nutrients for eye nutrition include:
Provides pigment for the eye, and also helps shield the retina from damage. Lutein is found in spinach, kale, collards, green peas, broccoli, green beans and corn. There is much higher concentration in the leafy greens. Smaller amounts can be found in eggs and oranges.
The carrot isn’t a lie! Orange fruits and veggies contain Vitamin A, which is in fact important for healthy eyes. It’s good for vision overall, and can specifically help with night vision. Aside from carrots, you can find it in sweet potatoes, squash, pumpkin, apricots and cantaloupe. Some other unexpected places include paprika and liver. Additionally, it can be found in the same leafy greens that provide lutein–primarily spinach and kale, which is more-or-less a superfood.
Most of us know where to get this. Broccoli is one of your better choices here, as it provides many of the other nutrients as well. Can also be found in citrus, peppers, and leafy green vegetables. Vitamin C is primarly important to keep the eye’s blood vessels healthy–blood vessels which deliver all of the life-sustaining elements to the eye.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
In addition to helping cells throughout your body perform required functions, Omega-3 helps control inflammation that leads to dry eyes. Alternatively, lack of it leads to retinal degradation. The best primary source of this nutrient is fish, with tuna and salmon ranking as the best sources.
Vitamin E strengthens cell membranes and may help prevent cataracts and macular degeneration. Cereal, almonds, sunflower seeds, and spinach are all great sources of Vitamin E.
Zinc facilitates the processing of Vitamin A and has a large concentration in the eye. Defeciencies have been linked to cloudy cataracts and decreased night vision. Beans, beef, and poultry are all great sources of zinc.
Vitamin supplements can be effective in some cases, but experts agree that synthesized nutrients are no substitute for the real deal.
This list really just serves as one more reason to maintain a healthy diet. Eye nutrition is important, but it’s a tree in the forest: what we eat is being shown more and more to have direct correlation with our health in very specific ways. Life can’t just be Pop Tarts and Twinkies!
Drs. Al Azizi, OD and Samuel Kaler, OD serve patients in Lee County with offices in Fort Myers and Lehigh Acres. Visit our locations page for directions to our office.