Cataract Awareness Month: 7 Foods That May Prevent Cataracts
Eye care becomes more and more important as you get older. Age-related cataracts are one of the leading causes of vision loss and blindness throughout the world. Studies suggest a healthy diet can prevent or slow down the oxidation process associated with cataracts.
The exact cause behind cataracts is unknown, but oxidation plays a major role. Oxidative stress is caused by an imbalance between free radicals (which could be caused by poor diet) and natural antioxidants found in your body. This oxidation process causes the breakdown of enzymes and proteins in your eye, which in turn causes your eye’s natural lens to become cloudy, creating a cataract.
The only effective treatment for this eye disease is cataract surgery, but a diet rich in these foods could lower your risk of developing cataracts:
- Spinach or Kale. Green leafy foods are full of lutein — a vital nutrient for healthy eyes. If you already have cataracts, make sure your diet contains a lot of spinach or kale.
- Cold-Water Fish or Walnuts. Fish such as salmon, herring or tuna are full of omega-3 fatty acids. This nutrient is heavily concentrated in your retina, and a diet full of fish can keep the back of your eye healthy. For vegetarians or vegans, nuts such as walnuts or pistachios are also great sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
- Berries. All forms of berries including grapes are fantastic for your overall health. Berries can lower your blood pressure and decreases inflammation, which can both be detrimental to your eyes. Blueberries and blackberries are especially great for your eyes because they can stop the arteries that supply oxygen to your retina from becoming blocked.
- Orange-colored foods. Zeaxanthin is another nutrient naturally found in the back of your eye. Orange foods, specifically orange bell peppers, have high zeaxanthin and lutein levels as well as vitamins C and A. Vitamin A has been proven to help night vision.
- Tea. A recent study found that green or black tea can prevent cataracts from forming in animals. Tea contains high levels of antioxidants along with vitamins A, C and E.
- Eggs. An egg per day could keep cataracts at bay. Eggs contain nearly all of the nutrients and vitamins necessary for healthy eyes including lutein, zeaxanthin and omega-3 fatty acids. While diabetics should first consult their doctors about egg consumption, a majority of those at risk for cataracts can safely eat eggs daily.
- Avocados. This fruit is one of the most nutritious foods you can eat. Avocados promote your overall health, making them excellent sources of nutrition for your eyes. They are filled with vitamins and nutrients such as:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin E
If you’re experiencing vision changes, please contact our eye doctor immediately in Manhattan at 212-308-1566 to schedule your eye exam. Manhattan Surgical Care offers ophthalmology and cosmetic surgery services to those in Manhattan, NYC and all of New York.