Nutrition for Eye Health and ARMD Protection

Ok so food isn’t an alternative to modern medicine, but diet and lifestyle have a profound influence on some common yet problematic conditions. The foods you eat can help to prevent/treat/regulate certain conditions.

What is AMD?

Macular degeneration is a condition that affects the retina situated at the back of the eye – the area known as the macula. It's a painless condition but can lead to distorted vision or blank spots when concentrated at a single object. It normally appears later in life and is a common occurrence in the over 50s', hence why it is referred to as Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD).

How can diet help?

Consumption of fruits and vegetables containing two carotenoid pigments may be linked to a reduced risk for ARMD. Carotenoids are phytochemicals (chemicals found in plants) commonly found in certain fruits and vegetables that provide the naturally vibrant colours of these foods. Lutein and zeaxanthin are two types of carotenoids, which are yellow to red pigments found widely in vegetables and other plants.

In nature, lutein and zeaxanthin appear to absorb excess light energy to prevent damage to plants from too much sunlight.  It is believed that the lutein, zeaxanthin and meso-zeaxanthin in the macula block blue light from reaching the underlying structures in the retina, thereby reducing the risk of light-induced oxidative damage that could lead to macular degeneration (AMD).

There are many food sources containing these two carotenoids – it is advisable to seek further nutritional advice for a full consultation if you are experiencing health concerns.  The following foods are some examples of good sources of Lutein and Zeaxanthin: -

Where to find Lutein and Zeaxanthin

  • Egg Yolk – due to the fat content it is likely that the lutein and zeaxanthin are more easily absorbed by the body
  • Broccoli, Kale, Green Beans, Spinach, Peas, Brussel Sprouts
  • Paprika, Cayenne Pepper, Parsley
  • Squash, Sun-dried tomatoes, Corn


Other health benefits of Lutein and Zeaxanthin

antioxidant functions in the body. Along with other natural antioxidants, including vitamin C, beta carotene and vitamin E, these important pigments guard the body from damaging effects of free radicals, which are unstable molecules that can destroy cells and play a role in many diseases.


In addition to important eye and vision benefits, lutein may help protect against atherosclerosis (build-up of fatty deposits in arteries), the disease that leads to most heart attacks.

Nutrition for general eye-health

You don’t need to have or be concerned about AMD to think about what role nutrition plays to your eye-health.  We’ve all heard the saying “carrots help you to see in the dark”.  This isn’t an old wives tale – Vitamin A helps protect the surface of the eye (cornea) making it is essential for good vision.

Good food sources of provitamin A carotenoids include carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale and cantalo

Vitamin A from animal-derived foods is called retinol. Good food sources of retinol vitamin A include beef and chicken liver, whole milk and cheese.

Dispensing Opticians Sarah and Keith both patient and experienced.

V M Andrews

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