From boosting the brain to strengthening the heart, it’s no secret that nutrition plays a vital role in overall health. However, many people are surprised to learn that dietary choices also impact eye care. As Reed Eye Associates explains, certain food choices raise the risk of vision problems, while others further eye health. To help patients protect their sight, these optometrists of the Greater Rochester, NY, area offer the following guide to eating and eye care.
Optometrist-Approved Tips for Supporting Eye Health Through Nutrition
Limit Processed Sugars
The overconsumption of sugar, particularly refined sugars, can increase one’s risk of developing diabetes—a chronic condition defined by the body’s inability to regulate blood sugar levels. When blood sugar levels are not controlled, they can increase the risk of eye ailments such as glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy. Instead of choosing processed sweets, opt for unprocessed carbohydrates and fiber to improve digestive processes and overall nutrient absorption.
Know Your Nutrients
Speaking of nutrients, it’s important to know which ones support eye care. Found in carrots and sweet potatoes, beta-carotene delivers vitamin A to the body to prevent blindness. Zinc—which can be found in turkey and whole grains—supports retina health. You’ll also want to eat foods rich in antioxidants—such as lutein and Vitamin C—to prevent eye damage caused by sunlight, pollution, and other hazards.
Choose Healthy Fats
Certain fats sustain healthy eyes. For example, omega-3 fatty acids—found in fish, nuts, and healthy oils—may reduce the risk of cataract formation and dry eye. But while these nutritional components are healthy, there are other fats you should avoid. Most notably, it’s best to limit one’s consumption of trans and saturated fats, as these can increase the risk of high blood pressure. Over time, this may lead to vision loss, as chronic high blood pressure damages blood vessels in the eyes.
Reduce Salt Intake
In addition to contributing to high blood pressure, excess sodium intake is also associated with cataracts. To prevent them from developing, consume less than 2000 mg of sodium a day. Sticking to fresh produce and alternative seasonings will allow you to enjoy flavorful meals without relying on loads of salt.
While balanced nutrition can significantly improve vision health, it’s also important to visit an optometrist for regular eye exams every one to two years. Patients in the Greater Rochester, NY, area should turn to the specialists at Reed Eye Associates for comprehensive checkups. Visit this team online to learn more about their services and find a vision clinic in Batavia, Greece, Irondequoit, Newark, Pittsford, or Sodus. You can also call (585) 249-8300 to schedule a convenient appointment with a trusted eye care provider.