Growing up, your parents probably told you to eat carrots to improve your eye health. You probably now tell your own children to finish their carrots in order to have better eyesight. And while carrots do help keep your eyes healthy, there are a number of other foods that can help preserve your vision as well. Nutrients found in certain foods can help protect your eyes from disease and infection, as well as help maintain your eyesight while you age.

Why are carrots so good for your eyes? Carrots, as well as other brightly colored vegetables like bell peppers, tomatoes, strawberries, corn, cantaloupe, and pumpkin, are chock full of vitamins A and C. These foods also all have carotenoids, which give them their bright red, orange, and yellow colorings, and may also help reduce your risk of contracting certain eye diseases.

There are many other nutrients that are beneficial for your vision that many people do not get enough of in their diets. For example, antioxidants can help protect your eyes from UV damage, air pollution, and even second hand cigarette smoke. They can be found in lots of different tasty foods, so it is easy to increase your daily intake of antioxidants. Spinach and kale are loaded with lutein and zeaxanthin, which are considered to be two of the best antioxidants for your eyes, so toss up a fresh salad made with these dark leafy greens to keep your eyes well protected.  And if you are looking for another source of anti-oxidants and other nutrients, don’t forget a glass of red wine.

It’s not just fruits and vegetables that can help your eyes and your vision – fish can also be beneficial. Salmon has plenty of omega-3 fatty acids, which help prevent inflammation in your eyes. This nutrient may also help prevent or improve the symptoms of dry eye syndrome, a chronic condition that can be difficult to treat.

If you’re looking for something to snack on, and also improve your vision at the same time, reach for some sunflower seeds. Sunflower seeds provide plenty of vitamin E and zinc, which can help keep the tissue in your eyes strong. Vitamin E is another nutrient that many people could get more of by just changing their diets slightly.

There are so many small changes you can make in your diet to improve the health of your eyes. A healthy, balanced diet can also help delay the development of cataracts, which cloud your eyes and vision, as well as prolong the onset of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Your risk of developing cataracts and AMD increases as you age, but maintaining as healthy of a lifestyle as possible can help you preserve and protect your vision for years.

Dr. Robert Eden
Dr. Robert Eden
A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Union College in 1999, Dr. Eden received his medical degree from Albany Medical College in 2002. He completed an internship at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center (Boston, MA) and residency at the Nassau University Medical Center (East Meadow, NY) before returning to the Capital District for fellowship training in corneal and refractive surgery at Cornea Consultants of Albany in 2007. During the subsequent two years, Dr. Eden maintained a busy practice in Queens, NY, where he served on staff at Flushing Hospital Medical Center, Caritas Medical Centers and The New Parkway Hospital. He also operated at Laser One (New York, NY) and at the MacKool Eye Institute (Astoria, NY) where he performed cornea, cataract and laser vision correction surgery. Dr. Eden returns to Albany as a board-certified, fellowship-trained cornea, cataract and refractive surgery specialist. His practice focuses on state-of-the-art medical and surgical treatment of eye diseases, from dry eye to artificial cornea. He has experience in routine, as well as complex, cataract surgery including placement of the latest intraocular lenses to reduce spectacle dependence, traditional and partial thickness corneal transplantation (DSAEK), and refractive surgery from LASIK to phakic IOL.

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