Having poor eyesight can be very limiting. There are certain activities that you will not be able to do. Sewing and driving will be difficult without the aid of prescription glasses or contact lenses. Simple tasks like reading, writing, and using the computer for long periods of time will begin to cause severe headaches.
You also won’t be able to qualify for certain jobs, too. You need 20-20 vision or near perfect eyesight to join the military or law enforcement, or become a firefighter, paramedic, flight steward, or pilot.
There’s really no need to say more about the importance of good eyesight. If you were born with relatively poor eyesight though, or if old age and poor habits in the past are starting to take effect on your eyesight, there are things you may be able to do to secure the health of your eyes.
First is to take vitamin A supplements. Also called beta carotene, this is essential for the health and proper function of the retinas.
Second is to stop doing any activity that can worsen the situation. Stop reading while lying down or when there’s very little light. Wear sunglasses during the summer and never look directly at the sun. If you’re constantly facing the computer at work, install an anti-glare screen over your monitor or adjust its brightness settings.
Third is to maintain a diet that will supply your body with vitamin A and other essential nutrients that will contribute to the better health of your eyes.
Here are examples of food that can help improve and maintain the quality of your eyesight:
1. Carrot sticks Eating fresh carrot sticks gives you all the beta carotene they contain. Eating them cooked is just as well, but eating them fresh and raw will be better. There’s a lesser chance that the nutrients will be washed off during the cooking.
2. Green Salads Leafy greens are rich in zeaxanthin and lutein, carotenoids that are found in the lenses of the eyes. They are essential for maintaining excellent condition of the lenses, plus they prevent the formation of cataracts. However, the body cannot produce zeaxanthin and lutein by itself; you need to supplement your body’s needs by eating foods that are naturally rich in these nutrients.
Kale, cabbage, and other green, leafy vegetables are found to have high zeaxanthin and lutein content. In addition, these greens are also rich in vitamin C and other antioxidants. Other greens with high vitamin C content are broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and green bell pepper.
If you don’t like salads, you can snack on spinach alone. Spinach is the ultimate food source for all four essential vitamins and nutrients for maintaining healthy eyes: vitamins A and C, lutein, and zeaxanthin.
3. Fruit Salads Citrusy fruits like berries, grapes, cherries, oranges, grapefruit, and so forth also have beta carotene. Of course, they also contain vitamin C and antioxidants. These nutrients benefit the eyes because they help lower the risk of macular degeneration.
Macular degeneration is actually a condition that affects the retinas. This gradually occurs as people age. Its visible manifestation is the formation of cataracts. Of course, it’s possible for this to develop earlier than expected, so again, maintaining a diet rich in eye-friendly vitamins and nutrients will help keep very good eyesight as long as possible.
4. Milk Dairy is a known source of vitamin A. Yes, drinking milk seems too juvenile, but just think of the health benefits you can get from it! Not only do you get vitamin A, you also get calcium—a nutrient you’ll need more of as you grow older.
Aside from milk, most dairy products like soymilk, butter, cheeses, and other food products derived from these are also good sources of beta carotene.
5. Egg Sandwich Eggs are not just rich in zeaxanthin and lutein. They also contain zinc, which is another nutrient that helps prevent macular degeneration. Considering that egg sandwiches are usually made with cheese, butter, mayonnaise, and sometimes even coleslaw, they truly are chock full of vitamins and nutrients that are good for the eyes.
6. French and Garlic Toast French toast is cooked by soaking bread slices into milk. If you want an alternative to drinking milk, this option can work. If you want something that tastes entirely different, then have some garlic toast. Garlic is rich in vitamin C, as well as selenium, quercetin and sulfur. These nutrients generally prevent infection and swelling.
7. Turkey First of all this is lean meat, meaning it contains less fat than say, beef. More importantly it’s rich in zinc and niacin, another nutrient that helps prevent cataracts.
8. Seafood Most seafoods are rich in omega-3 DHA, fatty acids that are essential for nerve and eye tissues. It is also essential for proper brain function. The body cannot produce enough DHA by itself though, thus the necessity of eating omega-3-rich food. Salmon, tuna, mackerel, and trout are rich in these fatty acids.
Soymilk, eggs, bread and yogurt have omega-3 DHA too.
If your daily diet contains most of these examples, there may be no need to buy vitamin A supplements anymore. This is for long-term, and along with the promise not to abuse one’s eyes, you may be able to enjoy very good eyesight even when you grow old.