Almost 80% of what we perceive through our sensory abilities comes from our sight. Protect your vision with everyday care for your eyes and overall health.
Smoking not only causes irritating smoke that harm the eyes (and causes a host of other serious health problems); medical studies show that the density of eye pigments in the retina that is essential to healthy vision actually decreased as smoking increased. These eye pigments are called macular pigments and also protect the retina by their antioxidant capabilities and by shielding the eyes from harmful UV radiation. Smoking ultimately increases the risk of eye disorders including cataracts, dry eyes, macular degeneration, and retinopathy.
Vitamins A, C, and E all offer benefits for overall eye health. Vitamin A can help to reduce the risks of cataracts and night blindness, and a deficiency has been implicated in blindness and corneal ulcers. Vitamin C reduces pressure in glaucoma, slows age-related degeneration (AMD) and prevents cataracts. Vitamin C is also a strong antioxidant that is highly concentrated in the lens of the eye and used by the muscles of the eye. Vitamin E helps to reduce the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts. Often obtained from leafy, dark green or orange vegetables, Vitamin A could be sourced from spinach, carrots, and in some animal products. Crucial sources of vitamin E include nuts such as almonds, seeds, grains, green leafy vegetables, and vegetable oils.
Two important antioxidants for eye health that must be acquired in the diet are lutein and zeaxanthin. They are found in leafy, green vegetables such as spinach, kale, and fresh parsley; and yellow fruits and vegetables such as squash and corn.
Minerals are needed to help the body metabolize vitamins and balance nutrition and hormones. Critical minerals for eye health include zinc and selenium. Other important supplements for eye health are lutein, bioflavonoids, and carotenoids.
Natural supplements for eye health include bilberry, which contains antioxidant compounds that help maintain the strength and structure of eye capillaries. Grape seed extract is a powerful natural antioxidant. Proanthocyanidins are also recommended for their powerful vascular strengthening abilities and antioxidant activity.
Eye Health Tips
- Wear a pair of ultraviolet proof sunglasses whenever you are outdoors, even on cloudy days. Doctors recommend wearing sunglasses all year round, not just during the summer.
- Eat a healthy diet: fresh deep green leafy vegetables, fruits and whole grains, deep-water fish, eggs, chicken and turkey with little red meat. Avoid refined, processed foods high in sugar, white flour, hydrogenated oils, artificial flavorings, and colorings. Eat plenty of berries, watermelon, carrots, citrus fruits, almonds, and olive oil.
- Avoid toxins that are used in foods such as aspartame, MSG, steroids, and hormones.
- If you have diabetes, keep blood sugar levels under strict control and get regular checkups.