Tuesday, June 25, 2024

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    Nutrition to Improve your Eye Health

    When I was a kid, it was considered that spectacles were for old people. Children and young adults who had to wear glasses for vision correction were quite less in number and also ridiculed. As someone who had to wear glasses since I was 8 years old, I can attest that getting ridiculed for being spectacled was not fun. It was considered as a symbol of being unhealthy. All those are archaic ideas and times have changed now. But the fact that one needs to maintain their health for healthy eyesight is understated.

    Whether your vision is perfect or is in need of correction now, a healthy diet is important to make sure your eyesight doesn’t get worse with age.  Our eyes are delicate organs and they need some special nutrients to work well. Some of those are Vitamins A, C, D & E, minerals like zinc, selenium & copper, omega 3 fatty acids, pigments like beta carotene, lutein & zeaxanthin, flavonoids etc.

    Vitamins A, C, D and E serve various purposes when it comes to eye health. Vitamin A protects us against night blindness and dry eyes. It can be found in milk, eggs, vegetables like carrot etc. Vitamin C reduces the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration. Macula is an oval-shaped pigmented area near the centre of retina responsible for central, high-resolution, colour vision. Macular degeneration occurs when this area is affected leading to blurry or no vision. Citrus sources are a great source of Vitamin C. Vitamin D and E also help reduce the risk of getting affected by macular degeneration. Nuts like almonds, hazelnuts and walnuts are significant sources of Vitamin E. While Vitamins A, C & E are readily available from foods, the main source of Vitamin D is sunlight. Make sure you get enough of that.

    Our body needs minerals for the healthy functioning of organs but most of them only in small amounts. Hence, they are called micronutrients. Of all, zinc and selenium play important roles in maintaining healthy eyesight. Zinc plays a major role in protecting eyes from macular degeneration and glaucoma. It also helps to decrease age-related retinal damage in the eyes. Selenium is especially important to reduce the risk of cataracts at a later age. Together, zinc and selenium can help in avoiding or reducing the impact of glaucoma. Good dietary sources of zinc include oysters, chicken, milk and baked beans. Selenium is found in Brazil nuts, wheat germ, tuna, flounder and garlic.

    Omega 3 fatty acids from fish oils mainly help in preventing dry eyes disease. Lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta carotene are pigments found in vegetables like carrots, legumes, eggs etc. which help with clear vision.

    Even with all these precautions taken, some people have something as simple as refractive errors that cause unclear vision because of genetics. People with mild to moderate refractory errors can opt for glasses or contact lenses. My pick would be contact lenses since they are much more comfortable these days. Even coloured contacts are available for refractory corrections. Manufacturers like lens me have really outdone themselves when it comes to how natural these shades look. Their shades like lensme and lens me olivine are just divine and look beyond great.

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