An eye for a healthy eye


Recently, a dear friend of mine survived a horrendous freak accident. His fellow worker was using an extremely powerful nail gun and discharged a nail into a board. The projectile ricocheted from the surface, flew through two small crevasses and stuck my friend. Only milliseconds prior to the release of the trigger my friend leaned over, little did he realize that he was placing himself in the path of a nail rocketing toward his face.

The nail hit him in the eye, even while wearing safety glasses. Three eye surgeons have declared that it is a miracle that he did not lose the sight in the left eye.

Since vision is such a valuable and vital tool of daily functioning all efforts should be taken to preserve it. The first step is to protect the eyes while doing anything dangerous. Nutrition also plays and important role in eye health.

Vision depends on tiny little blood vessels that supply the inner portions of the eye with nutrients and oxygen. The same foods that maintain a healthy heart and mind help maintain the eyes.

The nutrients lutein and zeaxanthin are powerful antioxidants that can be found in kale, spinach and other dark green leafy vegetables. These foods can help protect against retinal damage, the early onset of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. Adding lutein foods to the meals can keep the eyes seeing clearer.

Vitamin C rich vegetables and fruits help support the blood vessels in the eye and reduce the risks of vision issues. Citrus foods, tomatoes, red bell peppers, and strawberries are only a few of the foods high in Vitamin C. Daily intake is recommended.

Vitamin E is known for protecting eyes from damage. Peanuts, almonds, sunflower seeds and other nuts are a good source of Vitamin E. Consume at least 2 to 3 portions weekly.

Zinc is found in kidney beans, oysters, beef, poultry and pumpkin seeds. Zinc is a partner in the body with Vitamin A for eye protective pigment production. Zinc is also required for night vision and cataract prevention. A little amount of daily zinc goes a long way.

The topic of healthy blood vessels is never complete without including omega-3 fatty acids, DHA and EPA. Both are important in preventing or slowing down eye disease. Salmon, tuna, sardines, walnuts and flaxseeds are excellent sources of omega-3s. Daily intake of omega-3 fatty acids is also excellent for cardiac health.

Eating whole grains instead of refined and processed carbohydrate foods help to control blood glucose levels. Avoiding high blood glucose aids in controlling eye damage. Whole wheat bread and pasta, oatmeal, quinoa, and brown rice help to stabilize blood sugars.

Freak accidents occur. My dear friend was very lucky. Consistent eye care and healthy meals maintain optical health. Keep an eye out for eye health with wise food choices.


Bobbie Randall

Contributing columnist

Bobbie Randall is a registered, licensed dietitian, certified diabetes educator in Wooster, Ohio. Contact her at [email protected].

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