Consuming too much beef, lamb and pork can increase the chances of developing Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD), according to a study conducted by The Royal College of Ophthalmology, London.
AMD affects around two and a half million people a year and can result in blindness, but the study showed that it can be preventable through better eye care and diet. In response, Specsavers Opticians has developed a special ‘healthy eyes’ good food list.
Paul Carroll, Director of Professional Services at Specsavers says: ‘The right diet is thought to be beneficial in protecting the macular from the effects of oxidation, which causes gradual wear and tear to the cells in the eye. This is the part of the retina that gives us our most acute and detailed vision for tasks such as reading, recognising faces and watching television, so it is important to protect it.’
He adds: ‘Studies also show that stopping smoking can reduce your risk of developing AMD’
Foods which contain high levels of antioxidant vitamins and minerals, such as lutein and zeaxanthin – appear to reduce the risk of developing the condition. Ingredients such as broccoli, sweet potatoes, citrus fruits and dark green leafy vegetables, like spinach and kale, are rich in these antioxidants.
Mr Carroll continues: “Eating the right antioxidants and vitamins can help to neutralise potentially cell-damaging molecules called ‘free radicals’ which are thought to be harmful to the eye. So for your health and your eyesight’s sake, enjoy a daily diet that’s rich in fruit, vegetables and wholegrains.’
Specsavers’ ‘healthy eyes’ good food list includes: chicken, carrots, leafy vegetables (such as kale and spinach), peppers, broccoli, garden peas, Brussels sprouts, pumpkins, yams, squash and sweet potatoes, apricots and citrus fruits, sardines and nuts.
But a healthy diet is only part of the story. The Association of Optometrists Ireland recommends that you have an eye test at least every two years and more often when your optometrist advises. Certain patients, such as diabetics, should have an annual eye examination.