Growing up, many of us may have been goaded by our parents to eat every last piece of carrot on our plates because the vegetables were going to help us see clearer. And although some of the more cynical kids would have suspected that Mom and Dad were just saying that to get us to finish up the entire plate, it’s actually true. Carrots are an excellent source of beta carotene which can help us develop better night vision and maintain good eyesight.

But carrots aren’t the only food items that can do wonders for boosting and maintaining one’s vision. Here are a few more foods we can add to our diets to help us keep clear eyes and protect our eyes from diseases.

A great source of vitamin D, milk can help decrease the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which is the most common cause of vision loss among older adults. Additionally, milk contains the mineral zinc which also helps fight against AMD.

Fish that are rich in DHA
Dry eye syndrome, which can be caused by hormonal changes and environmental factors, can be uncomfortable or extremely painful. Luckily, increasing our intake of omega-3 fats through fish like salmon, tuna and trout can prevent the development of the disease. For those who already suffer from dry eye syndrome, the intake of omega-3 fatty acids will help to reduce the inflammation that causes the uncomfortable symptoms.

Leafy green vegetables
Thanks to being rich in antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin, many of our favorite salad greens like kale, spinach, and collard greens contribute toward the prevention of AMD and cataracts. Vitamin A (beta carotene), also present in leafy greens, protects our eyes from the onset of AMD.

Whole grains
Fans of wheat, oats, brown rice and quinoa will be glad to know that diets which include whole grains can hinder the development of cataracts, a condition which can reduce our vision by making our eye’s natural crystalline lens cloudy.

Citrus fruits
Mangoes, guava, and oranges are packed with vitamin C, an antioxidant which does wonders for protecting parts of the eye from the ravages of ultraviolet light (direct sunlight). Additionally, vitamin C also does its part in delaying cataract development. However, while the recommended intake for adult males is 90mg and 75mg for females, researchers have found that for vitamin C to work effectively against cataracts, one would need as to take in much as 500mg.

Nuts and seeds
Almonds, pistachios, hazelnuts and sunflower seeds contain vitamin E, an excellent antioxidant which can help stall macular degeneration and cataracts. For those of us who prefer our vitamin E spreadable, peanut butter is another way to take in more vitamin E.

Revising our menus to make them more eye care friendly will go a long way towards keeping our eyes healthy and help lessen the risk of vision problems in the future. And as our parents also used to say, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. However, in the event of an eye injury or emergency, it’s best to consult an eye doctor. Dr. Hetel Bhakta at Planet Vision Eyecare provides emergency eye care services for cases such as red or pink eye, foreign object removal, sudden loss or change in vision and chemical injuries to the eye.