World Sight Day is observed annually on the second Thursday of October to raise awareness on vision impairment and blindness. This year, the day will take place on October 8 globally. The theme of the day is “Hope In Sight”. According to the National Institutes of Health, approximately 250 million people suffer from varying degrees of vision loss. And one of the leading causes responsible for ocular health is your diet.
From cell phones to spending long hours on the computer, we put our eyes through a lot of stress which leads to an array of health problems. To understand the link between nutrition and eyes health, we talked to Dt Priyanka Agarwal, department of dietic & nutrition, Max Super Speciality Hospital, Vaishali and Max Multi Speciality Centre, Noida.
“Nutrition is a key lifestyle factor that can have a long-term effect on ocular health. Good eye health starts with the food on your plate,” said Dt. Agarwal.
On this World Sight Day, let’s take a look at some of the most important nutrients to include in diet for good eyesight.
Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that works as an antioxidant and helps fighting cell damage. “Vitamin A can protect against blindness and dry eyes. Foods rich in vitamin A are liver, egg yolks, and dairy products.”
Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are healthy fats required for your body to thrive. It plays an important role in your body and protects you from many health problems, including eye health. It is found in fish, nuts such as walnuts, seeds including flax and chia seeds.
Dt. Agarwal explains that the long-chain Omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA are extremely important for eye health. “DHA is found in high amounts DHA is found in high amounts in the retina, wherever it’s going to maintain eye function. it’s additionally necessary for brain and eye development throughout infancy. Thus, DHA deficiency will impair vision, particularly in kids. The best dietary supply of EPA and DHA is oily fish,” she added.
Lutein and zeaxanthin
Dietician Priyanka calls lutein and zeaxanthin a natural sunscreen that plays a central role in protecting your eyes against harmful blue light. Foods rich in lutein and zeaxanthin include green leafy vegetables, egg yolk, green peas, and pistachios.
Zin is an essential mineral that plays a pivotal role in improving eye health. Including it in your diet “helps to protect you against age-related macular degeneration, night blindness, cataract, damage to the optic nerve, impaired vision, poor night vision.” Whole grains, nuts, meat, seeds, legumes and dairy products are some of the foods rich in zinc that you can include in your diet.
Vitamin C is an important nutrient required by the body to provide amazing health benefits. “Including vitamin C may reduce the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration. Some of the foods rich in Vitamin C include citrus fruits, orange juice, bell peppers, guavas, kale, and broccoli.”
Vitamin E helps to protect eye cells from free radicals, which break down healthy eye tissue. It will help ward off age-related vision problems like macular degeneration and cataracts. Some of the foods rich in vitamin E include vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, and green leafy vegetables.
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