Good nutrition in every stage of life is essential to healthy eyes and good vision. Infants and children need the right nutrients as their eyes are developing. Maintaining good nutrition throughout your life can help prevent degenerative conditions of the eye. Even senior citizens can protect their eyes and sometimes regain lost vision with the right nutrients.
We have all heard that carrots are good for your vision, but you may not know the real role they play in eye health. Carrots contain beta carotene, which your body converts to vitamin A. Vitamin A is crucial to healthy eyes and keeping your eyesight.
Beta carotene is what gives yellow, orange, and red fruits and vegetables their color such as carrots, sweet potatoes, papaya, mango and squash. Liver is very rich in vitamin A and you can also get vitamin A from milk and eggs.
Benefits of vitamin A include keeping your eyes moist, helping them adjust to changes in light, preventing cataracts, and preventing age related macular degeneration (AMD).
Macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in people 55 and older in the U.S. Lutein and zeaxanthin are caroteniods found in the macula of the retina. These nutrients help protect the eye from UV rays. Studies have found that they can protect against AMD and cataracts, extending your good vision later in life. For some, these nutrients can even reverse the effects of AMD, improving their eyesight.
Other food sources where vitamin A can be found include:
- Egg yolks
- Leafy green vegetables
- Green peas
Other Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamins C and E are both antioxidants that can improve the health of your eyes and other parts of your body. They can help prevent cataracts and AMD. Selenium is a mineral that helps your body absorb vitamin E. Zinc helps your body absorb vitamin A.
Vitamin B12 may help preserve vision in people with glaucoma. When taken with B6 and folic acid, it may also reduce the risk of AMD.
Dark colored berries, such as bilberries and blackberries, red wine, and even dark chocolate all contain flavonoids. Flavonoids are antioxidants that protect your blood vessels, including the capillaries in your eyes.
To learn more about nutrition and eye health, please contact LASIK surgeon Dr. James Kelly, today at Kelly Laser Center, serving New York in Long Island, Manhattan, and New York City.