It’s obvious that food has a huge role in your overall health. But did you know that what you eat affects your vision? In fact, poor nutrition is linked to the leading cause of blindness in the U.S.– age-related eye health issues.
Age-related eye health issues can destroy central vision and is the leading cause of severe vision loss in adults over the age of 55, affecting millions of Americans each year.
Having an unbalanced diet isn’t helping any part of your body, especially your eyes. However, there are ways to help protect yourself against age-related eye health issues. Eating foods like dark leafy greens and orange peppers can actually build macular pigment in the eye, which protects it. That’s because these foods are rich in two nutrients called zeaxanthin and lutein.
Zeaxanthin and lutein serve as “internal sunglasses” for the eye. These nutrients sharpen central vision, reduce the effects of glare and maintain healthy vision. Unfortunately, the body can’t produce zeaxanthin and lutein. That means we have to get these nutrients from our diets.
Elizabeth Johnson, PhD, says that the typical American diet does not include many foods containing zeaxanthin and lutein, so more people are defenseless against age-related eye health issues.
“When estimating average daily dietary intake, we found that most people, regardless of sex or ethnicity, obtain less than 1.2mg of lutein and less than 0.12mg of zeaxanthin. Those levels are far below the quantities that have been shown to be beneficial for reducing risk for age-related eye health issues and its progression.”
Even if we did eat more quantities of food that contained zeaxanthin and lutein, it would be nearly impossible to consume enough. You’d have to eat 20 ears of corn in a single day to get enough zeaxanthin and lutein to protect the eye.
But there’s another option. Taking eye vitamins with dietary zeaxanthin and lutein combined with a healthy diet can greatly improve your eye health, and protect you from age-related eye health issues.