diet and eye diseaseFor many, summertime means taking care of the garden. It also means less trips to the grocery store as you are able to find your favorite vegetables just a few steps from your back door. This ease of access along with a free price tag often lead to many of us eating healthier throughout the summer.

As winter quickly approaches it is important to keep up the healthy diet that many of you enjoy during the summer months. A proper diet can help to reduce the chances of certain eye diseases.

Having a diet full of vitamins and nutrients is not only good for overall health, but in some cases, may help to prevent issues associated with vision loss. Nutrients that are linked with eye health are Vitamins C and E, B12, B9, B6, carotenoids, beta carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin.

Antioxidants are important in your diet as they help to deter build-up of waste products in the retina, reducing your risk for age related macular degeneration, or AMD for short. Vitamin B6 and Folate, or Vitamin B9, help to lower the blood chemical homocysteine, which helps to lower your risk for AMD. Antioxidants also help to prevent protein from linking which can cause cataracts.

Some foods that contain eye-healthy nutrients are:

  • Dark green vegetables such as spinach and kale for lutein and vitamin E.
  • Yellow and orange fruits and vegetables for beta carotene and zeaxanthin.
  • Fruits and vegetables for vitamins C and E.
  • Fish for omega 3 fatty acids.
  • Citrus fruits, dried beans, green leafy vegetables, mushrooms and nuts for folic acid.
  • Dairy products, eggs, meat, and poultry for vitamin B12.

Avoid selecting carbohydrates such as white rice, white bread and pasta. These foods have a high glycemic index which means they are broken down rapidly into blood glucose or sugar. Choose breads and pasta made from whole grains and brown rice.

Keeping a healthy diet will not only help to improve your overall health, but also will help you to see clearly into the future. Choose foods that are high in vitamins and nutrients, even if that means going to the store to get them, until next year’s gardening season begins.

About the author: John D. Bissell, owner of Tri-State Low Vision Services – a division of Bissell Eye Care, offers comprehensive eye examinations for the entire family, ocular disease detection and treatment, eye glasses, sun glasses, active wear, contact lenses, and low vision examinations for those with significant vision loss. He has undergone specialized training for treatment of low vision by the International Academy of Low Vision Specialists utilizing customized telescopic eyeglasses, prisms and telescopic implants for patients who qualify. The practice accepts most types of vision and health insurance plans.

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