Our vision changes throughout our lifetime. As we age, the risk of worsening eyesight increases. So does the risk of serious eye conditions.
Like any other health condition, your diet plays a major role in your ocular health. For example, poor nutrition may affect two of the most common eye conditions — macular degeneration and cataracts. But are there really foods that improve vision?
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Foods to Improve Eyesight
A balanced diet can’t improve your eyeglasses prescription. However, foods rich in certain nutrients and vitamins may help reduce the risk of chronic eye conditions.
Joseph Martel, MD, suggests including more of the following five food groups in your diet to reduce the risk that your vision will get worse:
Leafy greens are one of the best foods for eye health. This is because of the nutrients they contain. You can find two nutrients found in leafy greens — lutein and zeaxanthin — in high concentrations in your macula. The macula is the part of your retina that is responsible for central vision.
Recent research recommends lutein and zeaxanthin supplementation for all patients with moderate or advanced dry macular degeneration.
Challenge yourself to add kale or spinach to each meal.
Red, purple, and blue berries and leaves contain the nutrient anthocyanin. This is another one of the types of nutrients that makes a certain type of food good for eyes.
In particular, bilberries have high amounts of anthocyanin. Some studies suggest anthocyanins can help protect the cornea, lens, and retina.
Include blueberries, bilberries, black currants, cranberries, strawberries, and even red cabbage in your diet.
Certain types of fish, such as wild-caught salmon, tuna, and sardines, provide omega-3 fatty acids. Some studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids can decrease the risk of age-related macular degeneration.
Add one to two servings of salmon, tuna, or sardines to your diet each week. This can help improve your eye health and reduce your cholesterol.
Vitamin C-rich foods
Vitamin C can help your eyes stay healthy. The cornea, retina, and lens of the eye benefit from vitamin C the most. Include more oranges, grapefruits, potatoes, broccoli, and other foods high in vitamin C in your diet.
Eating food rich in vitamin A is important for retinal health. However, most people get enough of it in a normal diet.
That said, people with certain gastrointestinal problems or poor diets can benefit from good sources of vitamin A. These can include carrots and sweet potatoes, which can help your eyes stay healthy.
You may prefer to take vitamins or supplements or get your nutrients from new foods. Either way, following these tips can help limit the risk of serious eye conditions later in life.
Some of these suggestions may seem simple. But you should consult your primary medical doctor (as well as your ophthalmologist) before making changes to your diet or supplement regimen.
For more information, visit the UPMC Vision Institute.
About UPMC Vision Institute
The UPMC Vision Institute is a national leader in the treatment of eye diseases and disorders. We seek to improve and restore your vision to help your quality of life, diagnosing and treating a wide range of conditions in both children and adults. Our treatments include both surgical and nonsurgical options. We also offer routine eye screenings and have full-scale optical shops. Find an eye expert close to you.