How Do Diet and Vitamins Support Eye Health?
“Carrots give you super-hero eyes.” Countless children have been told to eat their carrots for super-powered vision. If you’ve been told this common myth, you likely also know that healthy vision isn’t as simple as eating a carrot a day. Carrots do contain valuable nutrients that promote eye health, but they aren’t a magic cure for nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism. While nutrition may impact your vision, there are other factors at play too, including genetics and your lifestyle.
Here’s what you need to know about diet, vitamins, and eye health.
Nutrients with Proven Eye Health Benefits
Diet has been shown to have a link in preventing some eye diseases, including cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD). It may impact other eye health conditions, too. More research is needed to fully understand the link between diet and your vision, but researchers have shown that some nutrients offer supportive benefits to eye health.
What nutrients are best for healthy eyes? Scientific studies suggest that the following nutrients, and foods that contain them, may offer eye health benefits.
- Lutein and Zeaxanthin- Winter squash, corn, leafy greens, egg yolks, sweet potatoes, and carrots
- Omega 3 Fatty Acids- Salmon, sardines, tuna, walnuts, flaxseed, and chia seed
- Vitamin A- Sweet potato, red peppers, collard greens, butternut squash, and mango
- Vitamin C- Citrus fruits, kale, guava, kiwi, strawberries, and broccoli
- Vitamin E- Almonds, peanuts, sunflower seeds, broccoli, and spinach
- Zinc- Pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, chickpeas, lentils, and yogurt
When it comes to eye health and diet, the same principles that apply to overall health seem to apply. Enjoy a varied diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables. Leafy greens, including kale, spinach, and collard greens, and yellow/orange fruits and vegetables contain nutrients that are especially optimal for eye health.
Studies have found that diets high in simple carbohydrates, like white bread, can spike blood sugar and may contribute to the development of diseases like AMD and cataracts. Limiting sugars and high-glycemic carbohydrates is an important part of a healthy diet that will benefit not only your eyes, but the rest of your body as well.
Should I Take a Multi-Vitamin for My Eyes?
You may be wondering if a multi-vitamin could supplement your nutritional needs and provide the beneficial nutrients needed for optimal eye health. The decision to supplement or not is an individual decision, one that you should make in partnership with your primary care physician and eye doctor.
Remember, supplements are intended to add to a healthy diet, not replace it. Ideally, you should be receiving the bulk of the nutrition you need from whole food sources. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables will naturally contain many of the nutrients recommended for eye health. Supplements, if used, can act as an insurance policy, but aren’t intended to replace the healthy foods that your body needs.
Always talk with your eye doctor about the supplements you take. It is important for your doctor to know what you’re taking to ensure that these supplements don’t interact with the prescriptions you’re using or otherwise negatively impact your vision.
Diet isn’t a magical cure for better vision, but that doesn’t mean you should disregard the importance of eating well. Fill your plate with healthy foods, not only for your eyes but for your overall health. If you want to improve your vision, carrots aren’t the solution, but LASIK may be. LASIK surgery is proven to dramatically improve vision for most patients that receive the surgery. Contact Will Vision and Laser Centers to learn more.