Top 6 Foods for Avoiding Macular Degeneration and Cataracts

May 2, 2013


macular degeneration may be avoided with a healthy diet

It may shock you to know that more than 13 million people in the United States alone suffer from macular degeneration. Why do we care about this?  Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is a medical condition which usually affects older adults and results in a loss of vision in the center of the visual field. It occurs in "dry" and "wet" forms. It is a major cause of blindness and visual impairment in older adults (>50 years).

In addition to AMD, cataracts are another age related eye condition that cause visual impairment. By age 80, over half of all Americans have cataracts that require treatment.

From a nutritional standpoint, several large-scale research projects have concluded that there are some key nutrients that can help protect our eyes from these age-related conditions. The most important foods for preventing macular degeneration are those that are rich in antioxidants.  What you’re looking for are foods that contain omega-3 fats, beta-carotene, Vitamins C and E, Lutein, Zeaxanthin, and Zinc.

Here are some foods that you’re probably already eating, and may wish to include more regularly in your diet:

1)   Carrots for beta-carotene and vitamin A.

2)  Leafy Greens are packed with Zeaxanthin.

3)   Eggs. The yolk is a prime source of lutein and zeaxanthin—plus zinc, which also helps reduce your macular degeneration risk, according to Jeffrey Gold MD, Medical Director of Liberty Vision in Hamden.

4)  Citrus and Berries are loaded with eye supporting vitamin c.

5)   Almonds are rich in vitamin e. Just a handful provides half your daily requirement.

6)   Fatty Fish: Tuna, salmon, mackerel, anchovies and trout are rich in DHA, a fatty acid found in your retina—low levels of which have been linked to dry eye syndrome, says Dr. Gold.

Dr. Jeffrey D. Gold is the Medical Director of Liberty Vision in Hamden CT. He is an award winning surgeon who specializes in epi-LASIK laser vision correction. Liberty Vision was voted BEST PLACE FOR LASIK by the New Haven Advocate Readers' Poll for 2013, 2014 and 2015.