Your eyesight is perhaps your most important sense. Unfortunately, many people find that their eyesight worsens as they age. Is this inevitable? Maybe not. While genetics certainly have an impact on your vision, a healthy lifestyle can help prevent many eye diseases. Diet has an impact on your eye health, so let’s take a look at some common eye issues and how the right nutrients can help.
As people age, the risk of developing an eye disease increases. The level of risk depends on factors like age, genetics, lifestyle, and various chronic diseases. Common eye diseases include:
- Cataracts: The leading cause of blindness worldwide, age-related cataracts cause the eyes to become clouded.
- Diabetic retinopathy: This condition, associated with diabetes, develops when high blood sugar levels damage the blood vessels in the retina.
- Dry eye disease: With this condition, insufficient tear fluid causes the eyes to dry up, leading to discomfort and potential problems with vision.
- Glaucoma: This is a group of diseases involving progressive degeneration of the optic nerve, which is responsible for transferring visual information from the eyes to brain.
- Macular degeneration: One of the main causes of blindness in developed nations, age-related macular degeneration affects the central part of the retina.
A healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise and a nutrient-dense diet, can help keep these ailments at bay. Certain nutrients, however, are particularly important for eye health. To help maintain healthy vision, a person’s diet should include:
- Vitamin A is vital for maintaining the photoreceptors- the eye’s light-sensing cells. The best way to get vitamin A into your diet is by eating liver, egg yolks, and dairy products. Vitamin A is also present in antioxidant plant compounds called provitamin A carotenoids, which can be found in foods like kale, spinach, sweet potatoes, and carrots.
- Vitamin C seems to be an especially important antioxidant. There’s a higher concentration of vitamin C in the aqueous humor than in any other bodily fluid, and the amount found there is directly related to the dietary intake of vitamin C. This vitamin helps protect against cataracts, and can be found in citrus fruit, peppers, tomatoes, guava, strawberries, broccoli, and kale.
- Vitamin E is a group of antioxidants. Because these antioxidants are fat-soluble, vitamin E works to protect the fatty acids in the retina from oxidation. The best way to make sure you’re getting enough vitamin E is to eat almonds, sunflower seeds, olive oil, and avocadoes.
- Zinc can help to protect against night blindness. While further study is needed, there is research to indicate that zinc may also help to slow the progression of macular degeneration. Good dietary sources of zinc include oysters, beef, pumpkin seeds, legumes, dairy, and eggs.
- Lutein and Zeaxanthin may help protect against macular degeneration. Part of the carotenoid family of plant pigments, these antioxidants help protect your eyes from UV rays and can help prevent macular degeneration. Find them in leafy greens, broccoli, asparagus, and colorful fruit like peaches, mangoes, raspberries, and papaya.
- Fatty acids can help maintain healthy eye function. The long-chain omega-3 fatty acids known as EPA and DHA can reduce the risk of many different eye diseases, notably dry eyes. Gamma-linolenic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid, works as an anti-inflammatory. It can be found in evening primrose oil and starflower oil, while the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids are nuts, seeds, legumes, and fish.
At Parkwood Heights, we prioritize the health and happiness of our residents. That’s one of the reasons this is a great place to live your best life. A lovely community in which to spend your retirement, Parkwood Heights is located just minutes from Victor, Fairport, Farmington, and Canandaigua. Our picturesque, 122-acre senior living campus affords many opportunities to enjoy your time with friends and family while enjoying our scenic setting. Call (315) 986-9100 to learn more about all that we have to offer or check out our website and reach out if you have any questions.