Diet & Eye Health

We all know that a healthy diet is important for general health. In particular, anti-oxidants are believed to be important because they help protect the cells in the body from ‘oxidants’ or ‘free-radicals’. This extends to eye health as well and it is thought that cell degeneration is a key factor in the development of macular degeneration as we age.

Good sources of the key anti-oxidants (vitamins, minerals and macular pigments) include:

  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Green Peas
  • Sweetcorn
  • Broccoli
  • Celery
  • Sprouts
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Carrots
  • Green beans
  • Sweet peppers

Studies have suggested people who have diets rich in green, leafy vegetables, good sources of vitamins and lutein/zeaxanthin, have a lower risk of developing AMD. However, the high levels of vitamins and minerals recommended by the AREDS trials are difficult to achieve from diet alone.

In the AREDS2 trial, the people who seemed to benefit most from taking lutein/zeaxanthin were those who did not get much of these nutrients in their diet. Within this group, those who received lutein/zeaxanthin supplements had a 26% reduced risk of developing advanced AMD compared with those who did not receive the supplements.

Therefore, taking an AREDS2 supplement is not an alternative to a healthy diet but something you should consider as well.

The Macular Society produce an excellent leaflet about nutrition and your eyes which you can download or listen to online.