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The relationship between diet and eye health

Updated: Apr 5, 2022

In the complicated world we live in, it is easy to forget how fragile our vision is. Even people with severe short-sightedness can experience clear vision with our range of spectacles, sunglasses and contact lenses. However, there is more to making the most of your vision than stylish glasses fitted with up-to-date prescription lenses.

As one of the body’s most complex organs, our eyes need to be looked after to deliver their best. It is well recognised smoking significantly increases the risk of developing cataracts, glaucoma and macula degeneration. It is obvious that going to bed with make-up on will unnecessarily expose your eyes to chemicals, dirt and oils, yet did you know diet can also play a crucial role in allowing your eyes to function effectively?

Like any part of the body, our eyes require a balanced diet, ideally without any excess. This enables them to function optimally, while reducing the risk of developing age-related vision problems like cataracts and macula degeneration. A good diet also reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes, which is the most common cause of blindness in the working age population worldwide. Obesity is also a factor for many eye-related health conditions, including blood vessel health, glaucoma, cataracts and again macula degeneration (the leading cause of blindness in the over 65s).

Dietary health underpins eye health, particularly foods rich in zinc, vitamins A, C and E. Lutein is also beneficial, and it is found in green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale. Other eye-friendly foodstuffs include citrus fruits and tomatoes, peppers, nuts and dairy produce. A generous weekly portion of oily fish like salmon and mackerel is recommended by health experts, while vegetarians and vegans should maximise protein intake with beans, tofu and spelt. Moderate amounts of red wine can also help to protect our sensitive retinas from damage, though alcohol consumption in general is more likely to be damaging than beneficial.

If you would like to know more about the relationship between diet and eye health, we will be happy to offer you both advice and guidance.

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