With the pandemic, I’m sure many of you are ready to skip right to the new year! We are too! So today, we want to look at new year new you… nutrition and eye health.
Although it may not seem true, there are nutrients that have shown to help with eye health. Not just eating carrots makes healthy eyes! So let’s dive in!
Antioxidants can help in eye disease associated with aging eyes, specifically cataracts and macular degeneration. Additionally, research has shown there may be some benefits to Vitamin A and C intake in preventing blindness or alleviating glaucoma. To know why antioxidants are helpful in eye health, it is important to know what you are trying to prevent.
Cataracts are common, there are typically more than 200,000 US cases per year. Many patients describe cataracts as looking through a cloud. In most cases, this can be treated with a replacement lens and is an outpatient surgery.
Typically described as blurred vision, macular degeneration is when the retina deteriorates at the center of the eye. This is not as treatable, but there are promising treatments including a vitamin rich regiment to decrease increasing symptoms and surgery.
Glaucoma is when the nerve connecting to the brain is damaged. This is commonly due to high eye pressure. This is what you are testing for with the puff of air at the eye doctors. Often times, there are not symptoms until the damage is permeant. There are some treatments like eye drops, medications, and surgery.
There are some vitamins and nutrients that have been shown to help vision. You may have heard to load up on carrots and have fish twice a week. This is a great starting point, but there are so many more nutrients that not only should be included in a healthy diet, but also benefit the eyes.
Beta-carotene. This nutrient is most effective when mixed with zinc, vitamin C, and E. This can reduce macular degeneration. It can be found in carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale, and butternut squash.
Flavonoids or Bioflavonoids. This nutrient may protect against cataracts and macular degeneration. It can be found in tea, red wine, citrus fruits, blueberries, cherries, legumes, and soy.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids. Studies have shown that Omega-3 Fatty Acids can help prevent macular degeneration and help with dry eyes. This can be found in cold-water fish, fish oil supplements, flaxseeds, and walnuts.
Vitamin A, C, D, and E. These vitamins may have different benefits. Some include preventing night blindness, helping with dry eyes, reducing the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration. These vitamins can be found in eggs, butter, milk, sweet peppers, kale, strawberries, broccoli, oranges, fortified food, almonds, sunflower seeds, and hazelnuts.
Zinc. When mixed with vitamin A, zinc can reduce the risk of night blindness and may play a role in reducing advanced macular degeneration. It can be found in beef and dark turkey meat.
Although the studies are still somewhat inconclusive there isn’t a reason not to load up on these healthy nutrients and vitamins! To ensure you are not suffering from any of the common eye disease we discussed, contact us now for a routine eye exam.