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Guest Post: Avoid Eye Diseases by Eating Right

June 15, 2009

This article was written by David Hurcombe, O.D. He achieved his doctorate at the University of Houston, College of Optometry.

Glaucoma, Cataracts, Macula Degeneration and Retinal Edema are vision impairments that anybody can get. Although diseases and conditions of the eye have many causes, the risk of developing one can be reduced by a change in diet. In fact, research from the University of Liverpool (UK) has suggested it can do so by as much as 20%. No surgeries or medication, just a daily diet of healthy foods can help avoid future eye problems.

Whenever you get hungry, it is a sign that the body needs food. What most people do not know, or perhaps choose to ignore, is that the food we eat is extremely important for the wellbeing of the body. It is not just a matter of simply suppressing the hunger feeling, but also to give the body what it needs to stay healthy. Below is a number of nutritional supplements that are necessary for the eye to function properly. Deficiency in such vitamins and nutrients may become contributing factors to the eye conditions mentioned above.

Omega 3

Omega 3 fatty acids can be found in fish, cabbage, walnuts and broccoli, and effectively decreases the risk of Glaucoma. This eye disease creates an intraocular pressure that ultimately can cause significant damage on the optical nerve. Glaucoma can lead to partial or complete blindness and include symptoms like blurry vision, blind spots and poor peripheral vision.

According to studies, Omega 3 reduces pressure in the eye by up to thirteen percent. By eating a healthy amount of the foods mentioned, you can thus effectively prevent ever developing Glaucoma during the later years of your life.

Vitamin A & C

These vitamins are essential for the body to function correctly. Vitamin A contains retinol, a chemical substance used in the retina of the eye for creating certain vision pigments that aid vision in lower light levels. Vitamin C has proven to be a great supplement against cataracts; an eye disease that usually requires surgery followed by strong vision correction spectacles or contacts. Vitamin A can be found in carrots, milk, egg, liver, butter and cheese. Vitamin C exists in many berries and fruits and is found in very high levels in Blackcurrant’s, Barbados Cherry, Guavas, Grapefruits, Kiwifruit and Orange.

Antioxidant Nutrients

By including fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet, you will also get all the antioxidant nutrients you require. This is extremely important for your eyes, as research has shown people who eat these regularly greatly reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), one of the most common eye diseases among the elderly. Spinach, Melon, Sweet Potato, Peaches, Prunes, and Brussels Sprouts in particular contain high levels of antioxidants, and we should try to eat at least 5 portions of these a week.

In conclusion, the foods listed above all have a positive effect on the eyes. They work pro-actively and reduce the risk of developing serious eye diseases.

For further instructions and tips on how to apply this information to your daily routines, we recommend you to schedule an appointment with your local eye doctor. The good thing about these supplements is that they are found in foods most of you already consume on a daily basis. You may thus already be enhancing your eye health.

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9 comments

  1. I actually know of several people who have improved their eyesight by eating healthy (with lots of greens) and drinking a glass of carrot juice every day.


  2. Great article! I love how he states that we eat because we are hungry, but often without consideration to what we are putting into our bodies as fuel. Everyday we should strive to have diets that are varied so that we can work to achieve the necessary vitamins and minerals our bodies need to maintain themselves.


  3. Great article! I don’t think there’s much we can do to correct past inadequacies (or is there?) but it’s reassuring to know that we can reduce our future risks. It’s also a nice reminder that it’s time for my annual eye exam! :)


  4. As a future-dietician, I concur with your findings wise one.
    :)


  5. “Whenever you get hungry, it is a sign that the body needs food.”

    Is this really true? I have my reservations about this statement, although I know the article is about something else. Perhaps it’s true in the normal young child, but I wonder where nature ends and nurture begins. I, for one, do not feel that hunger is so bad. Eye problems, definitely bad :-)


  6. This article reminds people that when it relates to their health and well-being, being conscious of what they do is just as important as what they choose not to do. It is also useful to recognize that study results relate to a variety of factors; from eating habits, health history, genetics, physiology, ethnicity, lifestyle, and geography, and intersts of the writer of a report, funder of research to the origins of food sources themselves. No article includes all variables. In some cases, it is actually recommended people limit intake of fish because of mercury content, pollutants and other factors rarely included in studies promoting fish. This does not completely negate the benefits described in the article. Generalizing is not always wise.


  7. Hanlie- nutrition can change so much for all kinds issues like that!

    RickyRae- yes: variety contributes immensely.

    Cammy- there’s always something we can do to improve our health!

    bhealthier- am glad we’ve got your approval ;)

    Dr. J- VERY interesting point, and one which I do agree with. I think knowing what it feels like to be hungry is very important to understanding our bodies.

    Liara Covert- thanks for the comment; there are certainly many factors in study results and it’s good to recognize that and take everything with a grain of salt.


  8. Great post – because of my diabetes, I take very good care of my eyes!

    Thanks!


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