Does Diet Affect Your Eyes? | Complete Eye Care West

Does Diet Affect Your Eyes?

Everyone has heard the importance of maintaining a well-balanced diet, but did you know that what you eat can affect your vision? Whether at a restaurant or in your kitchen, your choices impact your eye health. 

Like all the other parts of your body, your eyes need nutrients to function properly. They get these from the foods you eat. 

Next time you’re contemplating what to have for a meal or snack, consider how your diet can support healthy vision. Keep reading to find out how your diet affects your eyes!

Eat Foods with Lots of Eye-Friendly Nutrients

You’re probably familiar with foods that are generally considered healthy. However, some foods contain nutrients that are particularly good for your eyes.

Foods rich with antioxidants have the ability to protect cells from damage. This helps you to maintain healthy vision.

Antioxidants like vitamins C and E, zinc, lutein, zeaxanthin, and omega-3 fatty acids are good for your eyes. They have all been shown to decrease your risk of developing certain ocular conditions. 

Vitamin C

Specifically, they can lower your chances of developing age-related macular degeneration, also known as AMD, and cataracts. You can find vitamin C in citrus fruits like oranges, kiwi, and grapefruit. 

Vitamin E

Strawberries, bell peppers, and tomatoes are also excellent sources. Almonds, olive oil, and avocados are full of vitamin E. 

These vitamins help the eye produce collagen. They also preserve healthy eye tissue.

Zinc

Zinc is a mineral that is beneficial to the retina. It plays a vital role in producing melanin, a pigment that protects your eye, as well. 

A healthy eye contains high levels of zinc. It can be found in beans, lentils, seeds, meat, dairy, and eggs. 

Lutein and Zeaxanthin

The retina naturally contains lutein and zeaxanthin. These nutrients have many benefits. 

Some research has shown that they keep your vision sharp, reduce glare, and protect your eyes from blue light. You can find them in leafy green vegetables such as kale and spinach, as well as broccoli, carrots, and fruits including raspberries, peaches, and mangoes. 

Omega-3

To maintain your vision, your diet should also include plenty of omega-3 fatty acids. These are considered healthy fats. 

One of the components of a tear is an oily layer. Omega-3 fatty acids aid in the production of this oil. 

For this reason, they can be particularly helpful for those suffering from dry eyes. You can find omega-3 fatty acids in oily fish like salmon and trout. 

They are also present in fish and plant oils, like sunflower and canola oil, as well as flaxseed. It’s possible to get these nutrients in the form of supplements. 

However, nutrients have the maximum effect when you ingest them naturally through the foods you eat. For example, some supplements may not help to decrease your chances of getting a cataract.

Keeping a nutrient-rich diet is a simple and even delicious action you can take to support healthy vision on a daily basis. 

What Foods Should You Avoid?

While some foods can support your eye health, others can work against it. It probably doesn’t surprise you to learn that junk food, fried foods, and processed foods can increase your risk of developing an eye condition. 

Foods like these are low in the essential nutrients your body needs. In addition, the excess oil you ingest can lead to high blood pressure and related eye conditions. 

There’s an important distinction to be made between healthy fats and unhealthy ones. While foods containing omega-3 fatty acids are a healthy choice, those with other fats, like butter and margarine, are not. 

Whenever you can, skip the ready-made food items, like canned goods and frozen meals, in favor of a home-cooked meal made with fresh ingredients like leafy vegetables, colorful fruits, red meat, poultry, and oily fish. 

Stay Hydrated Too 

Healthy vision relies on more than what you eat: it’s a result of what you drink too. When your body is dehydrated, you can feel the effects on your eyes. 

Anyone who has experienced dry eye knows how uncomfortable it can be. You can feel a scratching or burning sensation. 

Dry eye syndrome can make it difficult to wear contact lenses or see in certain scenarios, like driving at night. Your eyes need moisture to function. 

They get this moisture from tears. Every time you blink, tears coat the surface of your eye so that you can see clearly, and comfortably.

When your body lacks moisture, your eyes have a hard time producing enough tears. The good news is, there’s a simple solution: drink at least eight glasses of water every day. 

It’s also a good idea to reduce your intake of sugary and alcoholic drinks. This will keep your body and eyes hydrated. 

Do you have concerns about your vision that go beyond your diet? Schedule an appointment at Complete EyeCare West in Columbus, OH, today!