Can you eat your way to healthy vision?

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013, 2:32 pm

Today, our Dr. Cunningham appeared on “Good Day Austin” to discuss foods with known eye health benefits (http://www.myfoxaustin.com/category/236454/good-day ) and it brought up an interesting idea: Can you correct your vision by improving your diet?

 

The short answer is no.  If you are wearing glasses or contacts to correct the vision you were born with, there is no amount of healthy food you can eat to correct your vision and get rid of glasses.  BUT, if you’ve invested in your vision by taking advantage of LASIK technology to see without corrective lenses – you may want to look into your diet as a means of protecting that investment in excellent vision.  LASIK corrects the vision you were born with, but it doesn’t stop your eyes from aging.  Foods that offer protective benefits at the cellular level slow the aging process which may result in longer lasting clear vision.

 

Did you know that the retina – the part of the eye responsible for vision – has among the highest metabolic rates of all the tissues in the body?   Since the eye is so delicate, it makes sense that it would be at higher risk from aging factors.  This puts some focus on the benefits of a healthy lifestyle in slowing down the aging process – for your eyes.  Here is a list of nutrients that recent research is showing may protect the future of your vision.

 

Antioxidants – found in blueberries, apples (with the peel), kale, spinach, beets and tea.

Antioxidants are nutrients that can help protect your cells from stress and wearing out.  In your eyes, studies show that antioxidants can both lower the risk and slow the progression of two of the leading causes of age-related vision impairment: Macular degeneration and cataracts.

 

Omega-3 Fatty Acids – found in fish, walnuts and avocados

Eating a diet rich in Omega-3 fatty acids may help protect against dry eye syndrome and macular degeneration. There is also some evidence to suggest that they help maintain proper intraocular fluid levels, which decreases the risk of glaucoma.

 

Carotenoids – not just in carrots, but egg yolks, tomatoes and orange peppers

Carotenoids are actually pigments – the molecules that create food color.  These pigment molecules have the ability to absorb the harmful energy of blue and ultraviolet light, known to cause eye damage including macular degeneration and cancer.

 

LASIK is a safe and effective option in vision correction.  It is an investment in excellent vision that benefits not only your vision correction budget over your lifespan, but in your lifestyle as well.  LASIK can correct the vision you have today, but it doesn’t prevent the changes to your vision that happen with age.  Today’s research is taking a close look at how a healthy diet can help slow down the effect of aging on the body – including the eyes.

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