There is more to eye nutrition than meets the eye. Apart from carrots (the staple eye-food), there are several other food items which can improve your eye health and reduce the vision-related headaches, irritation., dry eyes, so on and so forth. The eyes are delicate organs and also the most vulnerable to elements. There are various foods which help maintain the eye health and help protect against diseases. Broadly speaking, the vitamins and minerals in various vegetables and dairy foods are beneficial for the eyes as they are for the body.
According to Dr Carr, “One of the best things you can do for your eyes is to eat a balanced diet high in fruits and vegetables, but also low in saturated fats and sugar”. Regular vitamins, especially A, C and E are very important to maintain the health of the eye and to keep the cornea (the external lens of the optical system) and the sclera (the white of the eye) sufficiently lubricated and moisturized. Our eyes also need some fatty acids (fish products) to ensure moisturisation.
Some popular and tested, through the decadence of time, food items are:
Fatty species of fish are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential to protect the eyes from dryness, macular degeneration and even cataracts. Species like tuna, sardines and salmon are few examples of such fish.
If you're not a sea-food enthusiast, the necessary nutrients can be taken from fish oil supplements. Or if you're a vegetarian or a vegan, the globalised market now offers supplements containing micro algae oil or flaxseed oil.
Green leafy vegetables
These vegetables, especially kale, spinach, and collard greens (loose-leafed cultivars of Brassica, same like cabbage or broccoli) are full of lutein and zeaxanthin (powerful anti-oxidants) which also curb macular degeneration and cataracts. Broccoli, peas and avocados are also excellent for the eyes.
Eggs contain almost everything from proteins to fats including vitamins and anti-oxidants. Eggs are rich in vitamin A and lutein which are very important to keep night blindness and dry eyes at bay and promotes the health of the eye muscles (extraocular muscles).
These species of the peppers, in lieu of being spicy, are nutritious. They contain a fairly large amount of vitamin A and C which helps prevent age-related macular degeneration.
All kinds of nuts are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. So, choose from millions of options from pistachios to almonds and keep some to eat on the go. Or munch through your day sitting on your desk and repair your eyes as the computer screen damages it.
Who doesn’t know the unmatched benefits of the good ol’ carrot? The most portable and convenient food known since ages is rich in vitamin A which helps reduce the chances of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). "Eating carrots won't make you see better than you already do, but there is a lot of truth in the idea that they can help protect vision," says Dr. Carr.
If we look at some researches and the general beliefs, all the “coloured” vegetables and fruits like carrots, tomatoes, bell peppers, strawberries, cantaloupe, corn and so forth are excellent sources of vitamin A and C and carotenoids (the pigment which gives these vegetables their colour) which is a very potent enzyme for fighting off eye diseases.
Apart from being rich in antioxidants, blueberries are also known for their versatility in warding off the risk of cataracts, glaucoma, heart diseases, cancer and many more such diseases.
Some legumes like lentils, beans, and black-eyed peas ("Just Can't Get Enough" of these) are excellent sources of zinc which helps protect the retina and lower the chances of cataract and macular degeneration.
Sunflower seeds are full of vitamin E and Zinc which help keep our vision balanced and healthy.
Foods low in glycaemic index (GI) are recommended for lowering the chances of age-related macular degeneration.
Citrus Fruits and berries
All the citrus foods, like orange, lemon, grapes, berries etc are rich in vitamin C content which is an important member of the cataract-prevention squad. Also, helps with macular degeneration.
Chia seeds are abundant with Omega 3 fatty acids (more than flax seeds) and anti-oxidants. Helps in preventing cataract and macular degeneration.
The last point in this listing is the all-time favourite, monsoon snack. It contains beta-carotene just like carrots, which are again useful for the health of our eyes.