Most people do not even come close to maintaining a diet of for optimal eye health. If we did consume more appropriate foods for eye health, like fruits and vegetables, this consumption will often not meet the required daily levels. For this reason, eye vitamin supplements and a good diet can become an important part of providing our eyes the nutrients they need for the best possible health. According to the American Optometric Association, data from the National Center for Health statistics estimates that 90% of the U.S. population 4 years and older have some form of vision dysfunction. These vision problems range from bags under the eyes to blurred vision, cataracts, color blindness, conjunctivitis, glaucoma, loss of vision, dry eyes, floaters, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, nearsightedness and far sightedness. This part of our ophthalmology website is dedicated to eye health and nutrition.
What are some things you can do to maintain eye health?
5 Ways to Maintain Eye Health:
Antioxidants help prevent many diseases affecting not only the heart, immune system, cancer but also the eyes. Antioxidants include Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and Vitamin A. These antioxidants can help prevent Age-Related Macular Degeneration, cataracts, and other eye diseases. Vitamin A is an antioxidant found in foods made from animals which includes liver and eggs and in fruits and vegetables like carrots and spinach. Most types of milk are also fortified with vitamin A. Vitamin A is essential to proper functioning of the retina. It also helps prevent night blindness by helping the eye to adapt between bright light and darkness.
2. Maintain an Eye Healthy Diet
Everybody knows that eating right is the way to keep your heart healthy. The good news is that the same diet that helps your heart is probably also good for your eyes. A diet low in fat and rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains can pay benefits not only to your heart but to your eyes. The connection isn’t surprising: your eyes rely on tiny arteries for oxygen and nutrients, just as the heart relies on much larger arteries. Keeping those arteries healthy will help your eyes.
Here are some foods that keep your eyes healthy
- Sweet Potato
- Black Eyed Peas
- Butternut Squash
- Red Pepper
Lutein: What does Lutein do for eye health?
More recently it has been suggested that two types of antioxidants, known as carotenoids, called Lutein and Zeaxanthin may also help with eye health. Lutein and Zeaxanthin can be found naturally in vegetables and fruit. For example, Lutein can be found in yellow peppers, mango, bilberries and green leafy vegetables such as Kale, spinach, chard and broccoli.
3. Have your eyes checked once a year.
It is not common that you would schedule an eye exam when your eyes feel fine. What many people do not realize is that many degenerative eye diseases cannot be felt. We suggest routine eye exams to maintain eye health at Washington Eye Physicians & Surgeons.
4. Take Eye vitamins and Supplements
Taking eye vitamins can help our eyes stay healthy for a longer period of time. Vitamins for the eyes can also help prevent many diseases. Although we can obtain all the vitamins and minerals we need by eating certain foods, it is nearly impossible in the fast food controlled times to get a healthy meal with all the vitamins and minerals. That is where eye vitamins come in. There is additional support for Omega-3 Fish Oil supplements as a source for omega-3 fatty acids and can prevent dry eyes and have overall total body health effects.
Over 20,000 clinical studies have shown the benefits of fish oil (i.e., marine-based omega-3 fatty acids) across a multitude of health conditions. Most Americans, though, still suffer from harmful omega-3 deficiency resulting in between 72,000 and 96,000 preventable deaths each year.*
* US National Health center for Health Statistics, 2005 data
5. Avoid UV rays direct to your eyes and wear sunglasses in the summertime.
It is proven that UV rays can seriously damage your eyes, but good sunglasses can prevent this damage. When buying sunglasses, make sure that they block at least 98% of UV radiation. Contrary to popular belief, light sunglasses can block UV as well as very dark ones, even though dark glasses usually offer more protection against bright sunlight. Talk with the eye doctors at Washington Eye Physicians & Surgeons about how to choose the best sunglasses for UV protection.