We’ve all heard the term “heart healthy” diet, but what about an eye healthy diet? Studies conducted by accredited organizations such as the Yale New Havens Teachers Institute found that in the same way that a well balanced diet increases the life of our heart, a diet rich in certain vitamins and minerals also helps maintain and improve the long term health of our eyes. By incorporating the right types of foods into our diet, we can actually reduce our risk of developing diseases such as cataracts, glaucoma, and blindness. The most commonly cited vitamins necessary for good eye health are vitamins A and C. Vitamin A’s active form, retinol, in part makes up the pigment of our eyes. It is especially important for good vision in dimly lit settings, such as night time driving. Deficiencies in vitamin A can cause a disorder in the retina that not only causes dry eye, but also a disease called night blindness or nyctalopia. Night blindness is characterized by an inability to adapt to low lit settings.
The risk of developing such conditions can be reduced, however, by eating high sources of vitamin A like liver, carrots, spinach, broccoli leaves, sweet potatoes, and kale among others. An equally important vitamin in terms of our ocular health is vitamin C. Vitamin C is found in very high concentrations in the clear gel layer of our eye, also known as the vitreous humor. Recent studies have posited a connection between vitamin C deficiency and the development of cataracts and glaucoma, both of which blur our vision. Good sources of vitamin C include: citrus fruits such as grape fruit or oranges, brussels sprouts, strawberries, cantaloupe, and cauliflower.
Other nutrients to look out for are minerals like lutein and zeavanthin. Lutein and zeavanthin are found in the eyes, where they act like antioxidants protecting us from harmful particles. Some studies even state that one of the two minerals acts as a natural pair of sunglasses, guarding our eyes from the damaging effects of sun exposure. These minerals can be found in dark fruits and vegetables such as spinach, dark green lettuce, prunes, grapes, peppers, kiwi, melon, and others.
To learn more about other ways to keep your eyes in sight at your next grocery store visit stop by the Eye Works, located in Barrington and Lake Zurich. Dr. Ralph Gebert and Anthony Prate are not only extremely knowledgeable about the different methods for living an eye healthy lifestyle, but have also diagnosed and treated the types of eye diseases that compromise vision for the past 30 years. Call (847) 381-0391 or (847) 540-1144 to set up an appointment today.