75% of vision loss is preventable or treatable if detected early enough, yet every 65 minutes an Australian loses part or all of their vision.
julEYE is The Eye Foundation’s eye health awareness month held each year in July, with an aim to raise community awareness of eye health issues.
The quality of our diet can have a direct impact on our eye health. In fact, one study has shown that high-sugar foods can contribute to vision loss. So this month we are exploring some of the top foods to support eye health:
1. Spinach, Kale, and other Dark Green, Leafy Vegetables
Deep green and leafy, spinach is filled with vitamin C, beta carotene, and loaded with lutein and zeaxanthin. These antioxidants act like a natural sunscreen for your eyes and they protect your eyes from harmful UV rays.
Carrots contain three nutrients that are linked to maintaining and/or improving eye health. Beta-Caroten, which is considered an excellent source of vitamin A, helps the retina to absorb and process light. The other two are Lutein and Zeaxanthin and studies show these compounds may protect against free radical damage as well as absorbing harmful light.
3. Nuts and Seeds
Nuts contain high levels of vitamin E, which can protect the eye from age-related damage. Try adding Brazil nuts, walnuts, cashews and peanuts into a salad to make it even more nutritionally dense.
Legumes are a good sources of bioflavonoids and zinc which can help protect the retina and can help lower the risk for developing macular degeneration and cataracts.
5. Citrus fruits
Citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that can help fight age-related eye damage, cataracts and macular degeneration. Some vitamin C-rich citrus fruits include: lemons, oranges and grapefruits
The vitamins and nutrients in eggs, including lutein and vitamin A (which may protect against night blindness and dry eyes), promote eye health and function.
7. Flaxseed Oil and Black Currant Seed Oil
These super supplements contain omega-3 fatty acids and have many eye health benefits, including helping to prevent or control dry eye syndrome as well as reduce the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts.
Whilst having a healthy, balanced and nutritious diet is important for your eyes and overall health, we also suggest looking after and protecting your eyes form external environments by:
• wearing sunglasses outside
• getting regular eye exams
• wearing eye protection when working with machines, irritants or chemicals
• protecting eyes from computer-related eye strain by looking away every 20 minutes at something 20 feet away, for 20 seconds
Along with getting the most from what you eat, you can protect the health of your eyes by getting an eye exam every year. Combining good nutrition with yearly check-ups will increase your defence against serious health conditions.