The following article was written by Dr. David Cronauer, a graduate of Wilkes University Pennsylvania College of Optometry affiliated, accelerated program, is affiliated with Replace My Contacts, provider of discount contact lenses on more than 150 brands, including Air Optix Aqua, Acuvue Oasys, SofLens Multifocal, and many more. Dr. Cronauer focuses vision related problems for head injury and stroke victims.
Recently there has been a lot of attention focused on the positive effects of diet on a variety of chronic medical conditions and health issues. Eye health is no exception and researchers continue to explore the impact of diet on a range of eye conditions. A number of supplements that address vision needs have entered the market, all designed to help maintain good eye health. Although supplements are a great support to your diet, ideally the majority of these important vitamins and minerals should be obtained from whole foods that you consume regularly. If you then choose to take supplements, they are working as an enhancement or support rather than as an attempt to address a true deficit of vitamins in your system.
There are several vitamins that have been shown to positively impact eye health. Among them are Vitamins A, C and E, as well as the B vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, lutein and zeaxanthin. These vitamins are readily obtained through fruits, vegetables and proteins that are easy to include in your diet. Knowing which foods contain these vitamins is the key to ensuring that you are supporting your eye health through your diet. These letters and names are thrown around frequently within the medical community and understanding what you can eat to satisfy these requirements and knowing which foods give you the most bang for your buck is crucial to a healthy, well-rounded diet that provides a defense against health issues.
The following is a list of vitamins, the foods that supply the vitamin(s), the role of each vitamin, and how they support eye health.
Vitamin A & E
Sweet potatoes, carrots, leafy greens (vitamin E, lutien, xeazanthin) and cod-liver oil (Omega-3’s) and nuts also, many breakfast cereals, breads and energy bars are also fortified with vitamin A. This antioxidant helps prevent macular degeneration and can help to protect the retina from sun damage.
Cold-water fish, including salmon, tuna, mackerel, as well as flax seeds and walnuts. More and more research is supporting the benefits of omega-3’s. Specific to eye health, these fatty acids help to protect against macular degeneration and are often used as a treatment for dry eye syndrome. Further, it may provide some protective properties against glaucoma.
Lutien and Xeazanthin
Eggs (vitamin E) and avocados (vitamin E) are both outstanding sources for these important vitamins. These foods have been shown to reduce the impact of sun damage on the retina and underlying structures and therefore lesson the risk of macular degeneration related to sun damage.
Orange/tomato juice, red/green peppers, cantaloupe, broccoli, kiwi all include Vitamin C. This powerful vitamin may actually improve macular degeneration, as well as inflammation while providing a powerful support to general health.
It becomes clear upon reviewing this list that leafy greens, fish, and a colorful array of fruits and vegetables are pivotal in maintaining good eye health in particular and good health in general. However, most individuals come up short in the daily recommendation of 8-9 servings of fruits and vegetables and the inclusion of fish twice per week. Making a conscious effort to include options from this list in your diet can support your eye health but may also help you to realize that ultimately you may need to eat more, just more of the right kinds of foods.
Remember to consult your doctor before embarking on any significant dietary change or if you are considering taking vitamin supplements.