Diet & Vitamins

Eating Your Way To Better Vision

We've been told for years that eating carrots will improve our vision, but the Vitamin A in this vegetable isn't the only natural defense against eye disease. The following list of nutrients, some lesser known than others, are welcome additions to any diet and in tandem with regular eye exams, will go a long way in keeping your eyes healthy.

Vitamin A 

What it does:  Improves the surface of the eye, mucous membranes and skin's ability to be effective barriers to bacteria and viruses, reducing the risk of infections.

Where to find it: Potatoes, carrots, dark leafy greens, winter squashes, lettuce, dried apricots, cantaloupe, bell peppers, fish.

Vitamin C 

What it does:  Studies suggest long-term consumption of vitamin C may reduce the risk of cataracts and vision loss from macular degeneration. It also plays a role in maintaning the connective tissue of the cornea.

Where to find it: Melons, brocolli, kale, brussell sprouts, citrus fruits, strawberries, watermelon.

Vitamin E

What it does:  Studies suggest long-term consumption of vitamin C also may reduce the risk of cataracts and vision loss from macular degeneration. It also plays a role in maintaning the connective tissue of the cornea.

Where to find it: Almond, spinach, avocado, sweet potatoes, avocado, wheat germ, butternut squash, wheat germ oil.

Zinc

What it does:  High levels of zinc are present in the macula. Zinc also helps Vitamin A create a pigment called melanin, which protects your eye. Though zinc deficiency makes seeing at night more difficult, zinc supplementation does not necessarily help you see better at night. There is some evidence, however, that zinc supplements slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Where to find it: Red meat, poultry, beans, nuts, pumpkin seeds.
 

SUPPLEMENTS

Lutein and zeaxanthin:

Lutein is one of only 20 carotenoids to be delivered directly to the macula. These antioxidants combat free radical damage to the cells of the eye caused by blue light exposure and UV sun damage. Damage from these sources has been linked to a loss in the quality of vision as well as degenerative diseases of the eye such as cataracts.

Bilberry:

Bilberry is a fruit that gained notoriety during World War II. British pilots would ingest bilberry jam and were believed to go battle with devastating accuracy during the evenings, when visibility was compromised. As a supplement, Bilberry has been used to protect the retina from free radical damage and is sometimes suggested to help manage retinopathy. While it may be helpful in preventing other degenerative diseases such as glaucoma or cataracts, it has not been sufficiently studied and improvements in night vision are mostly anecdotal.