Are there foods that promote healthy eyes? There certainly are. There are a number of foods that can help protect your eyes and reduce your risk of serious eye conditions. The doctors at Heritage Eye, Skin & Laser Center in Stockton are dedicated to providing the best eye care in Stockton and they recommend a healthy diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables to help keep your eyes healthy. In fact, we often see Dr. Miselis, Board Certified Ophthalmologist, Medical Director and Surgeon for Heritage Eye, Skin & Laser Center, eating his favorite salad for lunch – loaded with an assortment of dark leafy greens, plus a variety of seeds and berries.
If you want to help your eyes stay as healthy as possible, here’s a list of foods that are great for your eyes and worth incorporating into your family meal planning.
Zucchini is rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, which help protect the central retina from damage caused by the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays and high-energy visible (HEV) light. Prolonged exposure to UV and HEV rays may damage the retina and increase your risk of developing macular degeneration. Some research suggests lutein and zeaxanthin may reduce the risk of cataracts later in life.
Broccoli and broccoli sprouts have been found to protect the retina from free radical damage. This may be due to a compound in broccoli called sulforaphane which naturally boosts the body’s own defense system against free radicals.
Eggs are rich in cysteine and sulphur, two components of glutathione, a protein that acts as an antioxidant for the lens of the eye. This may explain why sulphur-containing compounds have been found to protect from cataract formation. Egg yolks also contain lutein and diets high in lutein can help to reduce the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration.
Garlic and Onions
Sulphur-rich garlic and onions are important for the production of glutathione, an important sulphur containing protein that acts as an antioxidant for the lens of the eye. Raising glutathione levels can be instrumental in both prevention and resolution of visual problems like macular degeneration, glaucoma or cataracts.
Tomatoes contain two eye-healthy nutrients — lycopene and lutein. Both of these phytochemicals are carotenoids, found to be helpful for vision. Lycopene has been well documented as effective in cancer-protection, but its antioxidant capabilities also act to protect the eyes from sun damage.
The old axiom that carrots are good for the eyes is not just a myth. Carrots are rich in beta carotene (precursor to vitamin A, a necessary nutrient for vision), lycopene (a phytonutrient antioxidant protective of UVB radiation in the eye) and lutein (a protective phytonutrient found in high concentrations in the macula which protects it from free-radical damage).
In addition to having the eye-healthy carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, blueberries contain anthocyanins, eye-nourishing phytonutrients which have been shown to improve night vision. They also contain flavonoids like rutin, resveratrol and quercetin which may help to prevent macular degeneration. Blueberries also contain minerals necessary for proper vision and are associated with reducing eye fatigue
Apricots are rich in both beta-carotene and lycopene, two phytochemicals that promote good vision. Beta-carotene is converted by the body to vitamin A, an important antioxidant that resists oxidative stress damage to the lens of the eye, helping to prevent cataracts and macular degeneration.
Cold-water fish such as salmon, tuna, cod, haddock as well as sardines are rich in the healthy Omega-3 oils. Fish are especially high in EPA and DHA, two Omega-3 fats which are important for cellular health. DHA makes up 30 percent of the fatty acids that comprise the retina. Low levels of DHA have been linked to dry eye syndrome.
Leafy Greens, Fruits and Berries
They’re packed with vitamin C, lutein and zeaxanthin—antioxidants that, studies show, lower the risk of developing macular degeneration and cataracts.