Does your family have a history of poor vision or retinal health issues? Are you scared that you will encounter these problems later in life like macular degeneration?

Well, vision health isn’t always linked to genetics. Your diet can also impact the overall health of your eyes.

For example, nutrients and vitamins like omega-3, vitamin A and C, and zinc help lower the risk of eye conditions associated with age-related eye macular degeneration and cataracts.

So, if you have a diet full of foods with nutrients designed to strengthen your eyes, you can help maintain good vision and eye health throughout your lifetime.

Some of the foods you should consider adding to your diet to help keep your vision in top health include

  • Citrus fruits – rich in antioxidants
  • Leafy greens – contain phytochemicals
  • Oily fish – provides omega-3s

Following a healthy, nutrient-rich diet will help you keep your eyes healthy but eating a diet full of processed and high-fat foods might increase eye problems. There are other factors to consider, too, like diabetes and dehydration!

Today we’re going to go through everything you need to know about the relationship between your diet and your vision.

Can a healthy diet improve your vision?

Research shows that there is a link between diet and vision. For example, Vitamin E intake has been shown in some studies to reduce the risk of age-related cataracts.

Research from the American Optometric Association (AOA) has also discovered that the following vitamins and nutrients are vital for eye health.

Lutein & zeaxanthin

These nutrients help to reduce the risk of chronic eye diseases. People with plenty of lutein and zeaxanthin in their bodies may be less likely to develop macular degeneration.

Where can you get lutein and zeaxanthin?

From:

  • Dark green leafy vegetables
  • Colorful fruits and vegetables

For example:

  • Broccoli
  • Corn
  • Peas
  • Tangerines

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is the vitamin that may lower the risk of developing cataracts. When taken along with other essential nutrients, vitamin C may slow the progression of age-related eye disease.

Where can you get vitamin C?

From:

  • Oranges
  • Grapefruit
  • Strawberries
  • Green peppers
  • Tomatoes

By implementing these fruits into your diet, you’ll be able to get the vitamin C your body needs to fight back against eye diseases.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is great for protecting cells in the eyes from free radicals. These are unstable molecules that break down any healthy tissue.

The best source of vitamin E is:

  • Vegetable oils
  • Nuts
  • Wheat
  • Sweet potato

Fatty acids

When we talk about essential fatty acids we are mainly concentrating on omega-3 fatty acids, which are vital for your retina health. Fatty acids are also crucial for optimal visual development, which is why it’s so important for young children to get enough omega-3 in their diet.

What foods contain omega-3? You can find it in:

  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Cold-water fish

Fatty acids also help:

  • Reduce inflammation
  • Enhance tear production
  • Support the oily outer layer of the eye

Zinc

Zinc plays a crucial role in bringing vitamin A from your liver to your retina so melanin can be produced. Melanin is a protective pigment in the eyes. Zinc deficiency is sometimes linked to impaired vision, poor night vision, or cloudy cataracts.

The best way to get zinc into your diet is to eat:

  • Oysters
  • Red meat
  • Shellfish
  • Nuts
  • Seeds

What are the best foods for eye health and vision?

There are a lot of great foods out there that have the vitamins and nutrients you need to help keep your vision healthy, but today we’re going to share eight foods you should be adding to your diet.

1. Fish

So many types of fish have oil in their gut and meat, an excellent source of omega-3. Fish like tuna, sardines, trout, mackerel, and herring are all perfect choices if you want to help keep your eyes healthy.

2. Broccoli

This easy-to-cook vegetable offers your body plenty of vitamin C, lutein, and zeaxanthin. Not only is broccoli nutritious, but it can also be added to a wide variety of dishes, making it easy for you to include it in your diet.

3. Nuts and legumes

Adding nuts and legumes to your diet is super simple and beneficial. They’re rich in omega-3 and vitamin E, making them the perfect snack for improving your eye health. We’d recommend adding walnuts, cashews, Brazil nuts, and lentils to your diet!

4. Seeds

Hemp seeds and chia seeds are rich in vitamin E and omega-3 making them a handy snack to munch on if you want to help keep your eyes healthy.

5. Citrus fruits

Lemons, oranges, and grapefruits are all citrus fruits and the best source of vitamin C. If you can get one of these fruits into your daily diet, you’re on the road to healthy eyesight.

6. Eggs

Eggs are the powerhouse when it comes to eye health. They’re rich in omega-3, lutein, and vitamin E! With so many meal options available with eggs in your pantry, you’d be crazy to miss out on this eye-health superfood.

7. Leafy greens

Leafy greens like spinach and kale provide your body with vitamin C and are also high in lutein and zeaxanthin.

8. Beef

Chicken and pork all contain zinc, but red meat, like beef, offers a higher level of zinc, making it ideal for getting the nutrients you need for healthy eyes.

If you’re vegetarian, don’t worry. You can also get zinc from yogurts, nuts, and beans.

Can certain diets negatively affect your vision?

A few diets can negatively affect your vision and cause visual issues down the line.

Here are three things you should avoid in your diet to maintain healthy eyes and help prevent macular degeneration and other retina issues.

1. Dehydration

It’s essential to get enough water to stay hydrated. Not drinking water or dehydrating can lead to dry, irritated, and itchy eyes. Hydration is essential to many aspects of your health, so it’s vital for the health of your eyes and your vision.

2. High sodium

Having a high sodium diet isn’t good for your health – including your eye health. Having a high-sodium diet is often linked to a risk of cataracts, so if you want to avoid cataracts for as long as possible, try to cut the processed foods and salt out of your diet.

3. Refined carbohydrates

Diets full of refined carbohydrates like bread, pasta, or baked goods like muffins and cookies may increase the risk of AMD (Age-Related Macular Degeneration). This is because refined carbohydrates are highly processed grain products; when processed, they remove all the vitamins, nutrients, and fiber.

We hope our blog post has helped you discover new ways to improve your diet and, in turn, improve your retina health. Getting assistance from a trained eye doctor in Venice, Florida will help you ensure the health of your eyes.

Our ophthalmologists at Venice Retina in Florida specialize in treating various retinal diseases. We work closely with all our patients to diagnose their visual issues and help them receive the surgical and medical management solutions they deserve.

If you want help with your eyes, our team will help take care of your eyes in a comfortable, safe, and professional clinic. Our team is here to help you with your retina issues, from macular degeneration and retinal detachments to flashes and floaters.

Get in touch today to book a retina care appointment.

About the Author: Venice Retina
Venice Retina is an ophthalmology practice that specializes in retina care, in Venice Florida. Founded by Dr. Anita Shane, Venice Retina specializes in the treatment of most retinal issues, including macular degeneration (including eye injections), floaters and flashes, retinal detachments, and more. If you have an issue with your retina, and you in Venice, Englewood, North Port or other nearby areas of Southwest Florida, please contact us today to get the retina help that you need from our experienced ophthalmologists.

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