An apple a day might keep the doctor away, but what about the optometrist? The foods we eat are the fuel for our bodies, and that includes the eyes as well. Nutrition and eye health go hand in hand, with many fruits and vegetables providing the vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids needed to help your eyes function properly and reduce the risk of developing eye conditions. This May is Vision Eye Health Month. Ensure you’re incorporating a variety of fruits and vegetables into your diet for the sake of your eye health. Here are some foods to eat to get you started on your journey to better ocular health.
Which Foods Aid Nutrition And Eye Health
It may sound strange to eat foods based on their colour, but fruits and vegetables of the same colour tend to have similar vitamins and minerals. This is why you often hear the phrase “eat a rainbow of fruits and vegetables” as a way of encouraging a healthy balance of nutrients. Orange produce tends to be high in vitamin A, which helps the retina stay healthy and reduces the risk of developing dry eyes. Some orange produce that is especially high in vitamin A includes sweet potatoes, carrots, cantaloupe, and apricots.
These types of fruits are a good source of vitamin C, which is an antioxidant that helps protect the body from damage caused by eating fried foods, tobacco exposure, and UV rays. Vitamin C helps the body to repair and grow new cells. The antioxidants found in vitamin C also help to reduce a person’s risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts. Other foods that have high vitamin C levels are bell peppers, peaches, tomatoes, and strawberries.
Vegetables such as spinach, kale, collard greens, broccoli, and romaine lettuce are all examples of leafy greens that are full of lutein and zeaxanthin. These antioxidants help maintain the health of the macula, which is the back of the retina that is responsible for central vision.
Fatty fish, especially cold-water fish, are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids. This nutrient helps to maintain blood vessel health which is vital to your overall eye health, as there are many small blood vessels contained within the eye. Omega–3 fatty acids are necessary for the retina and they play a vital role in keeping the eyes lubricated. When omega-3 fatty acid levels are low, it can increase dry eye symptoms.
As a good source of both zinc and copper (which is good for your red blood cells), beans help protect your eyes from the damaging effects of UV rays. Zinc helps to maintain the health of the retina, the cell membranes, and the protein structures within the eyes. Other foods rich in zinc include oysters, poultry, and lean red meat.
Various types of nuts and seeds contain high levels of vitamin E, which aids in the prevention of AMD and cataracts. Vitamin E is another antioxidant that helps keep cells healthy.
Maintain Eye Health By Visiting A Calgary Eye Clinic
While eating a diet full of various vitamins and minerals for your nutrition and eye health is a great step to reducing your risk of developing eye conditions, another way to ensure healthy eyes is to have regular eye exams. By scheduling annual adult eye exams, your optometrist can detect the development of eye conditions and address them early, so that you and your eye doctor can take steps to halt the progression of eye disease in the earliest stages. To book a comprehensive adult eye exam with one of our optometrists, contact My Optometrist at one of our three locations, either Health First in SE Calgary, Sunridge in NE Calgary, or Three Hills, AB. You can also call us or fill out the online contact form.
Q: Can supplementation improve vision?
A: Your eye doctor will be the best person to determine if supplements will be effective to help protect your eye health, but many promising studies have shown direct links to the use of supplements for protecting eyesight.
Q: Is it better to eat vegetables raw or cooked?
A: The longer you cook your vegetables, the more nutrients are lost. Despite this, it is always good to consume vegetables and fruits, and if cooking them helps you enjoy them and encourages you to eat them more frequently, then you should absolutely cook your produce. If you struggle with eating raw fruits and vegetables or if you have a health condition that makes processing certain raw foods difficult, try making soups, as this method begins to break down food outside of the body while retaining nutrients in the water/stock it is cooked in. If you struggle to digest raw vegetables and fruits, speak with your doctor.
Q: What happens at an adult eye exam?
A: A comprehensive adult eye exam (for those between 19 and 64 years of age) at My Optometrist Calgary includes:
- A review of your past and present eye and general health issues, as well as your family history.
- A discussion of your visual needs at work or school, at home, and for leisure.
- Measurement of your current level of vision with and without your eyeglasses or contact lenses, and determination of your prescription.
- Assessment of your ability to move and use both eyes together.
- Measurement of the pressure inside of your eyes.
- A visual field assessment to measure your peripheral vision
- Careful examination of the health of your eyes inside and outside. Drops to dilate your pupils may be recommended and administered.
- A photograph of the back of your eyes.