The three main vitamins necessary for maintaining good eyesight are vitamins A, C, and E. Vitamin A improves vision during the nighttime and in low-light. A concentrated amount of vitamin A can be found in carrots, spinach, broccoli, sweet potatoes, squash, eggs, cheese, and butter. Next, vitamin C, an antioxidant that aids the prevention of cataracts, can be found in most fruits.
High quantities of vitamin C can be found in oranges and other citrus fruits. Vitamin C supplements have grown increasingly available because vitamin C increases immune system functionality. Then there is vitamin E, another antioxidant that prevents cell damage and aging in the eyes. Asparagus, avocado, milk, eggs, spinach, nuts, vegetable oils, and whole grain foods are all high in vitamin E.
Another substance, known as lutein, is found in many green vegetables and eggs and is important for preventing macular degeneration. Lutein is one of many types of cartenoids that can be found in vegetables, all of which help preserve eye health. Aside from fighting cataract development, lutein also slows macular degeneration in the eye that happens normally through aging. 10% of the population aged 66-74 experience macular degeneration and 30% of people 75-85 years old experience it. Some foods with high levels of lutein are kale, spinach, peas, broccoli, zucchini, and eggs. Zinc is also known to slow and prevent macular degeneration. The seeds of pumpkin, squash, and watermelon all contain zinc.
For retinal health, omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil play an important role. One particular omega-3 fatty acid known as DHA has been found to improve color and depth perception. These oils can be integrated into any diet either by eating fish or by taking fish oil supplements.
Mark D. Fromer, M.D., board certified ophthalmologist in surgery and treatment of eye diseases, has the distinction of being the eye surgeon for the New York Rangers hockey team. Dr. Fromer specializes in laser vision correction procedures, lectures extensively throughout the U.S., and maintains a very active role in teaching advanced surgical techniques and laser vision correction surgery to fellow ophthalmologists. For more information on this and other forms of advanced vision care, visit Fromer Eye Centers.© 2012 Dr. Mark Fromer
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