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Nutrition and Wellness

Ocular Nutrition and Wellness

Did you know that what you eat and what you do impacts your vision? The old adage "You are what you eat" applies to your eyes like the rest of your body. One specific nutritional need of your eyes are two particular antioxidants - lutein and zeaxanthin. These two antioxidants are generally found in green, leafy vegetables (ex. spinach, kale, collard greens) and in orange-colored foods (ex. orange sweet peppers, corn, egg yolks). These particular antioxidants super concentrate in one specific part of you eye - the macula. The act as passive light filters for high energy light that comes from the sun, electronic displays, and other LED lights. Those light sources have relatively high amounts of "blue light" that scatters inside your eye resulting in poor visual focus and can damage the retina more easily than light from the red end of the spectrum. A thick layer of lutein and zeaxanthin - the macular pigment - can help your visual performance and help the long term health of your eyes.

A second specific need of your eyes is enough Omega-3 fatty acids to keep your eyelid oil glands healthy. These glands are supposed to secrete a clear, easy flowing oil that is part of your normal tear film. If you don't have enough Omega-3's in your diet, your oil tends to get thick and stuck inside the glands and result in a dysfunctional tear film that is commonly called Dry Eye. Omega-3's are plentiful in oily, cold water fish.

As an aside, carrots are thought of as the "eye vegetable". It is true that the Beta-Carotene in carrots can help your night vision in particular. However, few Americans are deficient enough in Beta-Carotene for this to be wide-spread problem. If anything the eye-related nutrition deficiencies are in leafy greens, orange-pigmented foods, and fish. Some people are able to adapt their diet to include these, others opt for supplements. We can offer help with recommendations for both and can measure your macular pigment during your regular comprehensive eye examination.

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