eye chart

Despite the many eyesores of modernity a la strip malls, parking lots and drive thrus, we actually do live in a breathtakingly beautiful world worthy of wide-eyed ogling. But, many of us miss out on the majestic beauty as more than 150 million Americans struggle with poor eye health. While some conditions are hereditary, many of our eye woes come as we age (especially since we now spend so much time staring at computers… but keep reading, please!). Carrots, which contain high levels of beta-carotene are, of course, the quintessential eye food, but are you eating these seven other foods that play a crucial role in keeping your 20/20 a perfect 10?

Avocados are the number one food source for lutein. A number of research studies identify lutein, a carotenoid antioxidant, as a critical factor in protection against cataracts and macular degeneration.

Kale and most other dark leafy greens (which like avocados, also contain a high dose of lutein), are a rich source of zeaxanthin—an antioxidant that can protect against retinal damage and keep eyes healthy longer.

Tomatoes contain large amounts of lycopene, which becomes especially active when cooked. Lycopene has been shown to reduce the onset of age-related macular degeneration, which is the most common form of blindness in elderly people.

Flax oil is a rich source for omega-3 fatty acids, which recent research links to decreasing the risk for macular degeneration. As well, flax oil has been shown to reduce dry eye syndrome, which can cause pain, redness and swelling to eyes that do not produce enough tears.

Kidney beans are loaded with zinc. Sufficient zinc levels are needed daily as they play a vital role in making sure vitamin A gets into the eyes. It can also protect against night blindness, a serious condition that affects millions.

Red peppers actually contain more vitamin C than oranges. Vitamin C decreases the risk of developing cataracts, and can slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration and visual acuity loss.

Almonds are full of vitamin E, thought to protect healthy eye tissue from breaking down as we age. Using almond oil topically can also treat black circles by revitalizing cells and increasing blood flow.

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Photo: kenteegardin