Baltimore Washington Eye Center
200 Hospital Drive
Glen Burnie, MD 21061
Eat Right To Help Eye Health
Most of us are aware that our diet is important in keeping our heart and arteries healthy. So it should come as no surprise that eating right can also potentially be beneficial for our eyes. Eye health and vision depend upon the tiny blood vessels in the eyecarrying nutrients and oxygen to the tissue especially in the retina. Keeping those blood vessels healthy is an important part of preserving vision as we age. As part of an overall healthy diet, several key nutrients appear to be especially important in preserving sight.
Vitamin C, Vitamin Eand Zinc
About 10 years ago the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) reported that people given vitamin E, vitamin C, beta carotene, and zinc in supplements were less likely to develop advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The combination was most effective at slowing the progression from intermediate to advanced AMD, which is one of the leading causes of age-related blindness. Based on those findings, many people diagnosed with early signs of AMD today are routinely prescribed a pill that combines these nutrients. You may or may not benefit from depending on your overall health and eye condition. Patients should not take supplements without first discussing it with their eye doctor or primary care physician.
Lutein and Zeaxanthin
Two other nutrients lutein and zeaxanthin are also linked to lower risk of macular degeneration and cataracts. A 2008 Tufts University study of 1,802 women 50-79 years old found that those who consumed the most lutein and zeaxanthin in their diets were 23% less likely to develop cataracts than those who consumed the least. Rich sources of these two compounds include kale, spinach, turnip greens, romaine lettuce, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts.
Omega-3 Fatty Acid
The newest nutrient linked to better vision with age is omega-3 fatty acid, which is found predominantly in fish oil. In a study of 2,520 people, researchers at Johns Hopkins University reported in 2010 that people who consumed fish high in omega-3s fatty acids often were significantly less likely to have advanced age-related macular degeneration.Omega-3s may also protect against cataracts.
The best way to protect your vision from age-related diseases is by eating a healthy diet. Healthy food choices are good choices. The results of a 2010 study by French scientists found eating more vegetables including cabbage, broccoli, pepper, corn, or spinach improved the condition of the retina in people with age-related macular degeneration.