Just as what you eat affects the workings of your body, so too does what you eat – or what you don’t eat – affect your eyes and your vision. As with all the other parts of our bodies, our eyes need a variety of vitamins and minerals to continue functioning normally.
What people don’t realize is that when they don’t eat properly and their eyes deteriorate or develop disorders, as a result, the effects are often long-term and incurable; impacting the person’s life and the way that they normally go about their daily routine.
Let’s look at some of the eye diseases that can be avoided with proper nutrition:
Dry eyes: Although there are a number of factors which cause this condition, people with diets low in omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin A are more likely to develop dry eye disease. Individuals who suffer from diabetes, a condition often linked to nutritional factors, are also at an increased risk for the disease. Not drinking enough water is another factor which causes your eyes to dry up. Just like our bodies, our eyes also need the hydration.
Age related macular degeneration: Studies have shown that certain diets help age related macular-degeneration along. These include:
A lack of Omega-3 fatty acids. Eating fish at least three times per week could reduce the risk of advanced age-related macular degeneration.
Intake of too much dietary fat; specifically vegetable fats, mono saturated fats and polyunsaturated fats.
Having a high glycaemic index without being diabetic.
A lack of dietary antioxidants such as beta-carotene, vitamin C and vitamin E
A lack of lutein and zeaxanthin (found in leafy green vegetables)
Diabetic eye disease: Type 2 diabetes is usually caused by poor eating habits; therefore, many cases of diabetic eye disease also result, partially from not eating properly.
Forms of blindness: There are various forms of blindness – some of which there is no cure from or prevention of; others which can be prevented. Night blindness is a condition linked to a lack of Vitamin A (found in spinach, carrots and other vegetables). Usually the highest risk level is for pregnant women and preschool aged children in developing countries. Preventable blindness is usually found in children from developing countries and is caused by a lack of vitamin A.
Glaucoma: Usually most prevalent in diabetic patients – again, a result of bad eating habits.
Cataracts: again, a lack of antioxidants is a major cause. According to one specific study, people who used Vitamin C supplements for more than 10 years were 60% less likely to develop cortical cataract than individuals who did not. Another large study reported a high intake lutein-zeaxanthin reduced the likelihood of developing nuclear cataract.
So what do you need to do? Firstly, for those who don’t have diabetes, they need to kick up their nutrition in order to prevent getting it; while those who have it, need to work hard to control it. Those with diabetes should also regularly undergo thorough eye examinations to monitor the possibility of eye disease.
Reducing blood pressure and improving ones blood sugar levels are also big steps in the prevention of eye disorders. Just like your mom told you as a child, plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables are the key to not only a healthy body overall, but also healthy eyes. Supplementing this with antioxidant supplements such as Vitamin C and Vitamin A is also suggested – especially for those who are pregnant.
Do you want to keep your eyeglasses prescription from worsening? Follow the tips above and if your visual strengths do change, ensure to buy glasses which are made according to the updated prescription, as soon as possible.
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