Whether you’ve made healthy eating part of your New Year’s resolution or you’re simply looking to add new foods to your diet, what you put on your plate every day can have a long-term impact on your vision.
“When most people think of eye-friendly foods, their minds immediately go to carrots,” says Dr. Vivienne Velasco of iFocus Vision Center. “But there are a number of foods that offer the nutrients we need to preserve our eyesight.”
Options, Dr. Velasco emphasizes, are essential, as few of us would willingly stock our refrigerators with carrots (despite their beta carotene benefits). Enhancing your breakfast, lunch, or dinner with any number of eye-friendly foods can lower your risk of developing a sight-threatening disease while leaving you feeling healthier and more fulfilled.
Here are Dr. Velasco’s recommendations for an eye-friendly diet:
“This is a broad category, which is beneficial if you’re a picky eater,” Dr. Velasco says. “Leafy greens include everything from kale to romaine lettuce and collard greens.”
These foods are rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, and can decrease your risk of developing cataracts as well as Age-Related Macular Degeneration; the latter among the leading causes of vision loss in the United States.
Though there is ongoing debate over how much cholesterol is too much cholesterol when it comes to eggs for breakfast, eggs remain a good source of the aforementioned lutein and zeaxanthin nutrients.
Salmon, tuna, and other fish high in Omega-3 fatty acids can reduce your risk of Glaucoma, a sight-threatening disease that gradually develops without you noticing. Additionally, fish oils are credited with reducing symptoms of dry eyes.
Citrus fruits, including oranges, limes, lemons, and grapefruits, give your body much-needed vitamin C, which lowers your risk of developing cataracts.
Are you noticing a theme of orange foods? Like carrots and oranges, sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene and good for your eyes.
The next time you’re reaching for a midday snack, skip the cookies and grab a bag of nuts or sunflower seeds. Both are a good source of vitamin E, which can reduce your risk of Age-Related Macular Degeneration and cataracts.
Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet
Health conscious eaters should also look into the benefits of the Mediterranean Diet, a popular choice that encompasses many eye-friendly foods, including fish, vegetables, fruits, beans, and grains. Many followers of the Mediterranean Diet view it is a lifestyle choice, one that eschews red and processed meats and swaps out add-ons such as butter with olive oils. Additionally, a 2018 study found that the Mediterranean Diet vastly improves your chances of preventing Age-Related Macular Degeneration.
Sight-Threatening Foods to Avoid
There is always another side to the coin, and anyone looking to preserve their vision as they age should steer clear of foods high in sugar and starch.
“High blood sugar can lead to diabetes, which can have a devastating effect on your vision,” Dr. Velasco explains. “Blurred vision, double vision, Myopia, cataracts – all of these conditions are linked to diabetes.
“A healthy diet can reduce your risk, but diabetic patients must constantly monitor their conditions in order to prevent Diabetic Retinopathy, a severe complication that can lead to blindness.”
Have questions about your vision? Call Dr. Velasco at 702-473-5660 or book an appointment online at the iFocus Vision Center website.