Eat your carrots, or so we’ve been told. Is there any truth to that, though? Can eyesight be improved naturally? What is the best food for eyesight improvement? It turns out that there are certain foods good for vision. They contain key vitamins and nutrients that optimize ocular health.
Can Eyesight Be Improved Naturally?
Unfortunately, there is no way of reversing refractive error, such as myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism, or presbyopia. This type of visual difficulty can be treated with glasses, contact lenses, or refractive surgery.
However, there are other reasons for diminished eyesight, such as macular degeneration, that respond favorably to nutritional changes. In that sense, there are foods to improve eyesight without glasses.
What Vitamins Are Good for Eyesight?
Certain vitamin deficiencies can negatively impact how we see. Our ocular health depends on the balance of many nutrients, but some key vitamins improve eyesight.
When you think of what vitamin helps eyesight, you may instinctively think of vitamin A. It is indeed an essential nutrient for the eyes.
Vitamin A is a broad term used for a group of compounds called retinoids. Retinol is the form of vitamin A derived from animal foods. In the eye, retinol is taken up by the retinal cells to make a pigment called rhodopsin. Rhodopsin is used by rod cells in the eye to enable vision in low light. When vitamin A is deficient, problems with night vision can develop.
Xerophthalmia is the term used to describe the constellation of symptoms that arise from vitamin A deficiency, including night blindness and dry eye, among others.
Our body is constantly producing what are called free radicals. These are byproducts of our metabolic processes that take place every day of our waking life. Our body also produces antioxidants, which combat these free radicals. When there is an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants, oxidative stress occurs. Oxidative stress is responsible for many aging processes, including cataract formation.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that we can take to fend off free radicals and possibly delay cataract formation. It has also been shown to slow the progression of macular degeneration, a potentially blinding age-related condition.
Vitamin E is another powerful antioxidant that has been shown to slow the progression of macular degeneration.
There is a myriad of B vitamins out there, and several of them have been found to be beneficial to the eyes. Folate, B6, and B12 may reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration. Taking a B complex may also delay the onset of cataracts.
What vitamin is good for eyesight? Although there isn’t just one, lutein is pretty high up on the list. It is one of the best vitamins to help eyesight.
Lutein is a carotenoid related to vitamin A and beta-carotene. It is beneficial for the macula, slowing the progression of macular degeneration. It has the ability to filter out blue light emitted by digital devices. It may also delay cataract progression.
What Foods Improve Eyesight?
There are several foods to improve eyesight. These contain key nutrients for the eyes.
Fatty fish contains essential fatty acids, specifically omega-3s. Omega-3s are a part of every cell membrane and therefore play a key role in every cell in the body.
In the eyes, omega-3s have been found to be beneficial for dry eye and meibomian gland dysfunction. They also may help with macular degeneration.
Nutrition varies depending on the type, but most nuts are powerhouses, containing high levels of protein, essential fatty acids, and fiber.
Some nuts, such as almonds and hazelnuts, are particularly rich in the antioxidant vitamin E.
Seeds are another rich source of essential fatty acids. They can serve as an alternate source of omega-3s for those that don’t eat fish.
Sunflower seeds are especially rich in vitamin E, a key antioxidant found to be beneficial to the eye.
Citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C, another key antioxidant for the eye. Refreshing sources include lemon, lime, grapefruit, and orange.
When it comes to foods that help vision, leafy greens receive a high score. They are rich in key vitamins to improve eyesight. Not only do they contain the antioxidant vitamin C, but they are also packed with lutein, a very important carotenoid for the eyes. That spinach won’t just make your muscles stronger; it’ll also strengthen your vision!
Sweet potatoes are rich in a few key ocular nutrients: vitamin A, vitamin C, and lutein. Substituting white potatoes for the sweet variety not only decreases glycemic load, but it’s also food for eyesight.
Eggs are a great source of vitamin C, E, and lutein. They also contain another carotenoid related to lutein, called zeaxanthin. When it comes to foods that help eyesight, eggs score well. Their combination of nutrients is optimal for fighting macular degeneration.
Beef is another good food for eyesight improvement. It’s rich in Zinc, which has been shown to slow the progression of macular degeneration.
Legumes are a great source of Zinc as well, and offer a great alternative to meat, with their high protein content. When it comes to foods that improve vision, lentils are some of the healthiest, with no saturated fat and high fiber content.
Other Tips to Increase Eyesight
In addition to knowing what foods are good for eyesight, there are other measures you can take to protect your vision.
If you smoke, quit. Not only is it good for your general health, but it’ll lower your risk of eye disease.
If you wear contact lenses, wash your hands before handling them and only wear them for the recommended time. Don’t sleep in them. This will decrease your risk of eye infection.
If you are working with wood, metal, or chemicals, always wear eye protection.
Take breaks when you’re using the computer. For every 20 minutes of near work, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. It’s called the 20-20-20 rule.
Wear sunglasses. It’ll decrease your risk of several ocular conditions, including cataract, macular degeneration, pterygium and eyelid cancers. Sunlight can sneak in through the top, bottom, or sides of sunglasses, so aim for full coverage for the best protection.
So, exactly what foods help eyesight? Although there are no foods that restore eyesight, eating certain key nutrients can protect your vision from deterioration.
It is indeed worth watching what you eat. Ingesting food for good eyesight can serve you for years to come. Interested in more ways to improve your vision? Call Kraff Eye Institute for a consultation today.