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Eating Well for Better Eye Health

There are lots of reasons you have been told to eat a healthy diet. Eating plenty of leafy greens and omega-3 rich foods are well-recognized for their role in cardiovascular health, cancer prevention and weight management, but vegetables also contribute a significant source of vitamins and nutrients for your eye health. Research shows that several diseases of the eye, including cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration—all of which are more common as you age, can be reduced with a healthy diet that includes fruits, vegetables and some types of fish.

Vitamin C: Protects some parts of the eye from the damaging effects of ultraviolet (UV) light. Most men and women meet the basic daily requirements for vitamin C (between 75 and 90 milligrams per day), but some people may need higher doses to help prevent some eye conditions. Your doctor will be able to guide you further.

Sources for vitamin C: strawberries, brussel sprouts, broccoli, mango, and raspberries

Vitamin E: A powerful antioxidant, vitamin E may play a role in the prevention of macular degeneration, and the formation of cataracts. Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin and how much you take will be guided by your doctor. You may be able to take in enough vitamin E through diet and not need an extra vitamin.

Sources for vitamin E: cottonseed oil, hazelnuts, almonds, fortified cereal, and sunflower seeds

Zinc: This trace mineral is highly concentrated inside the eye and supports the health of the retina—an area of the eye that collects light. Levels seem to drop as you age, so it is important to take in more through your diet.

Sources for zinc: garbanzo beans, black-eyed peas, sunflower seeds, milk, beef and chicken

Omega-3: Found in every cell in the body, these healthy fats are essential for the health of many systems. Omega-3 rich foods have been shown to slow the progression of macular degeneration, diseases of the retina, and improve dry eyes.

Sources for omega-3: seafood, flaxseed oil, nuts and seeds, spinach, broccoli and fish oil supplements


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This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your health care professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.