Nutrition & Eye Health

March 25, 2013

Did you know that diet plays a role in eye health?

Studies suggest that diet is important in reducing the risk of Macular Degeneration (MD), which is the loss of central vision.

A diet that’s high in antioxidants, vitamins and other nutrients is ideal for eye health.

  • Antioxidants: Free radicals are a contributing factor in the cause of MD, and these are neutralised by antioxidants. Of particular note are Lutein and Zeaxanthin, these antioxidants are present in high concentrations in a healthy macula and are found in dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach, silver beet and yellow fruit/vegetables like sweet corn and capsicum.
  • Vitamin C and E: Necessary for the normal structure and function of connective tissue and are found in citrus fruit, broccoli, capsicum and tomatoes, nuts, wheat germ and whole grains.
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Found in high levels in the retina and are involved in cell renewal and development. Found in oily varieties of fish such as salmon and tuna. Research suggests that eating fish 2-3 times a week can reduce your risk of developing MD and may help slow down the progression.

The evidence for nutritional benefit in eye health is from the 2001 ‘Age Related Eye Disease’ Study. A second study (in progress) is following patients for seven years, focusing on the effect of lutein/zeaxanthin and omega 3 on the progression of MD. This will be published in 2013.