Healthy Diet for Maintaining Good Vision
The first step in trying to maintain the health of your eyes is to eat a healthy balanced diet.
Dark Green Vegetables
Dark green vegetables such as spinach, kale, mustard greens, collard greens, and broccoli contain high levels of phytochemicals, luteins, and zeaxanthin. Lutein and zeaxanthin help protect the retina from damage and aging. They are found in high concentrations in the macular area of the retina which is responsible for our clear central vision.
Vegetables Containing Beta- Cartenoids
Carrots, cantaloupe, sweet potatoes, yams, and yellow squash contain beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is absorbed and enters the liver where it is changed into rhodopsin which is the primary chemical in the retina.
Blue Eyed People
People with blue eyes need more of these nutrients as they have less protective pigment in their retinas.
Nutritional Supplements Reduce Progression of Macular Degeneration
There have been studies that have shown that certain nutritional supplements reduce the rate of progression of macular degeneration. The largest study is the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS).
The AREDS showed that the use of supplements used in the study slowed the rate of progression of macular degeneration can be reduced by twenty or twenty five percent. The nutrients in the study:
Vitamin C – 250 mg
Vitamin E – 400 IU
Vitamin A (beta-carotene) – 15 mg
Zinc (zinc oxide) – 80 mg
Copper (cupric oxide) – 2 mg
Age Related Eye Disease Study 2 was started which added to the original nutrients in the first AREDS. The study should conclude in the near future. The added supplements were doses of:
Lutein 10 mg
Zeaxanthin 2 mg
Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil) 350 mg/650 mg
Commercially Available Eye Supplements
There are many commercially available eye supplements. It is best to chose one that is either liquid or capsule. Many people have problems digesting hard tablet-like vitamins and are not completely absorbed. Common supplements are:
Vitamins and Supplements that are Important to Include
Vitamin A or beta-carotene
Vitamin B complex
Omega-3 fatty acids or fish oil
Phytochemicals- reseretrol, acai, blueberry, bilberry, ginkgo biloba
The proper diet containing dark green vegetables, vegetables containing carotenoids, whole grains, nuts, legumes, fish high in omega3 fatty acids, lean meats, and low fat is necessary for maintaining healthy eyes and good vision. Adding an eye supplement regimen to you diet gives you the best chance of maintaining clear vision.