As with other body systems, your visual system is at its best if it’s receiving the proper nutrition. In addition to improving your overall physical health, eating healthy foods with beneficial nutrients can help correct and improve vision and prevent the onset of age-related eye diseases.
However, not all eye conditions can be fixed by the food on your plate. So, before discussing what foods naturally improve eye health, let’s start with common eyesight conditions that can’t be helped by eating better and the best way to correct them.
Common Eye Conditions that can’t be Corrected through Food
Astigmatism is an optical deformity where the cornea (the front window surface of the eye) or lens is misshapen. In an ideal world, the cornea has a smooth and evenly curved surface like a basketball. This is important for allowing light to pass through uniformly.
The corneal contour is oval-shaped and comparable to an egg or an American football with astigmatism. Due to this uneven shape, the cornea cannot focus the light correctly on the retina. Instead, the light lands either in front of or behind the retina, leading to blurred vision.
While there are natural ways of fixing astigmatism, eating lots of carrots is not one of them. Corrective lenses are the easiest method of correcting this condition. Contacts for astigmatism– commonly known as toric lenses- have a special shape that makes them perfect for fixing this condition.
Glaucoma is a chronic disease that damages the optic nerve. The optic nerve is a bundle of fibers responsible for transmitting sensory vision from the eye to the brain. A damaged optic nerve can potentially lead to blindness, which is why glaucoma is something to worry about.
Glaucoma is often linked to intraocular hypertension or pressure build-up inside the eye. Unfortunately, glaucoma does not have any early symptoms, so it continues to progress silently over many years.
Fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin A and C may help lower the risk of glaucoma. However, eye damage from glaucoma cannot be reversed by dieting. Although there’s no cure for glaucoma yet, early intervention with traditional or laser surgery and medication targeted at lowering eye pressure may help prevent or slow down vision loss.
Color blindness is an inherited genetic disorder that causes the inability to see color or distinguish between different colors. While it’s often genetic, color blindness- also known as color vision deficiency- may be due to certain medications, diseases and chemical exposure.
Like glaucoma and astigmatism, you can’t eat particular foods and be cured of color blindness, especially if it’s inherited.
However, there are special glasses and contact lenses for people with color deficiency. These wearables are engineered with certain minerals that filter out some wavelengths that could overlap and confuse the brain. It becomes easier for the brain to discern some colors with less color overlap.
Now that we’ve talked about eye conditions that require specialized intervention, let’s talk about healthy fruits and vegetables that help improve eyesight naturally.
Generally speaking, most vegetables and fruits pack a terrific amount of nutrients that help prevent or slow vision degradation. And the more colorful, the better!
Conventional wisdom has it that carrots can improve your vision. The reason why this adage has remained so popular over the years is because it’s true.
What makes carrots a critical combatant against vision loss is their rich beta carotene content. Beta carotene is an antioxidant that the body converts into vitamin A. Vitamin A plays a key role in eye health by protecting the cornea. It’s also a crucial component of the rhodopsin- a light-sensitive pigment in the retina that is vital for night vision.
Among the amazing health and beauty benefits of black radish is its ability to give our eyes a boost. These root vegetables are a phenomenal source of vitamins A, E, C, K and B6, plus a wide range of other nutrients.
Vitamin C is an essential vitamin for eye health that is thought to help provide structure to the eyes. Multiple observational studies suggest that vitamin C may help prevent age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.
Eggs score well when it comes to the best foods for eye health. While they are synonymous with proteins, eggs are a good source of several hard to get nutrients, including vitamins D and B12 plus the mineral iodine.
Studies suggest that vitamin D can keep eyes strong and healthy by improving tear function. Eating eggs has also been shown to reduce the risk of glaucoma, cataracts and macular degeneration.
On the other hand, vitamin B12 is said to help with repairing the corneal nerve layer. This may help manage the discomfort and stinging or burning sensation caused by dry eyes.
You’ve probably heard hundreds of health benefits and reasons why you should eat your greens by now.
It’s generally accepted that a diet rich in leafy greens can contribute to a healthy life by lowering the risk of heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure and mental decline. In addition to these benefits, most people turn to leafy green vegetables because they are brimming with nutrients that promote eye health.
Spinach, probably the most popular leafy green, is chock full of different vitamins and nutrients, including vitamin A, B, C and K. In addition, spinach packs various minerals, including copper, zinc, magnesium, potassium, manganese and lutein.
Other locally available leafy green vegetables to add to your eye health diet include;
- Arugula: rich in copper, calcium, iron, manganese and vitamins A, B, C and K.
- Kale: an incredible source of zeaxanthin and lutein. These are potent antioxidants that may help protect your eye tissues from UV rays from sunlight and lower the risk of age-related vision changes.
- Watercress: commonly regarded as a superfood, watercress is an excellent source of various eye health-related vitamins and minerals like vitamins A, C and K in addition to potassium, calcium, magnesium, carotenoids and beta-carotene.