What your diet should look like if you want to have the best vision possible

Everyone has heard that eating carrots is good for your eyes and helps you to see better in the dark. Carrots are a rich source of lutein and zeaxanthin, as well as beta-carotene, which converts to vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A is essential for clear vision and general eye health and may help to prevent age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts. But which other foods should you be piling onto your plate to improve your vision?

Fish

Fish such as salmon, tuna, sardines and mackerel are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which may help to protect against dry eyes, macular degeneration and even cataracts. It is advisable to eat oily fish such as these twice a week.

Leafy Greens

Spinach, kale and collard greens, to name a few, are full of lutein and zeaxanthin, plant pigments that can help to stem the development of macular degeneration and cataracts. Broccoli, peas and avocados are also good sources of this powerful antioxidant duo. Cooked kale is the best dietary source of lutein and zeaxanthin, not to mention the beneficial vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, so upping your intake should in all likelihood enhance your eye health.

Eggs

The vitamins and nutrients in eggs, including lutein and vitamin A,  which may protect against night blindness and dry eyes, promote eye health and function.

Whole Grains

A diet containing foods with a low glycemic index (GI) can help to reduce your risk for age-related macular degeneration.

Citrus Fruits and Berries

Oranges, grapefruits, lemons and berries are high in vitamin C, which may reduce the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration.

Nuts

Pistachios, walnuts, almonds — whichever type tickles your fancy — are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E, all of which boost eye health.

Colourful Fruits and Vegetables

Foods such as carrots, tomatoes, bell peppers, strawberries, pumpkin, corn and cantaloupe melon are excellent sources of vitamins A and C. And carotenoid — the compounds that give these fruits and vegetables their yellow, orange and red pigments — are thought to help decrease the risk of many eye diseases.

Legumes

Kidney beans and lentils are good sources of bioflavonoids and zinc — and can help to protect the retina and lower the risk of developing macular degeneration and cataracts.

Sunflower Seeds

Help to keep your eyes healthy and disease-free by snacking on sunflowers seeds, an excellent source of vitamin E and zinc.

Beef

In moderation, lean beef in your diet can boost your eye health. Beef contains zinc, which helps your body to absorb vitamin A and may play a role in reducing the risk of advanced age-related macular degeneration.

Alcohol

Drinking large quantities of alcohol can have a negative impact on your eye health. Heavy drinking affects the absorption of vitamins in the liver  — vitamins needed to maintain healthy eyesight.

For example, a vitamin B-1 deficiency due to alcohol consumption can cause weakness or paralysis of the eye muscles. Or a vitamin A deficiency due to alcoholism can cause: night blindness, thinning of the cornea, corneal perforation, dryness and even blindness because of retinal damage. Drinking alcohol in moderation however, should not affect your eyes.

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About the author

Mr James Ball | Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

MA (Cantab) MB BChir FRCOphth CertLRS

I am a Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon at Custom Vision Clinic, The Yorkshire Eye Hospital, St James’s University Hospital, and Nuffield Hospital. My major interest is in refractive surgery and finding the best treatment suitable for each patient.

Learn more about me