Tips from Dr. Terri Colonna, Your Providence Vision Care Expert
The start of a new year is always a perfect time to assess your nutrition and lifestyle habits. Everyone wants to stay healthy for as long as possible, which is why working out and eating nutritious foods is a common resolution. As you make plans to implement your goals for the upcoming year, remember to consider one of your most precious organs – your eyes. Vision plays an essential role in your quality of life, and you depend upon it for almost everything you do. It’s high time to focus on keeping your eyes in top shape for as long as possible.
Eye Care Foods
Did you know that what you eat can promote first-rate eye health? According to the National Eye Institute, a number of specific nutrients are beneficial for vision care, such as:
- Omega-3 fatty acids can be added to your diet through foods and/or supplements, and may help prevent age-related macular degeneration, the development of cataracts, and have positive effects on alleviating the symptoms of dry eye syndrome.
- Antioxidants, such as vitamins A, B, C, D, and E, control the production of free radicals in your body, which can contribute to sight-threatening eye diseases.
- Zinc helps vitamin A to create melanin, which protects eyes, and it may also slow the deterioration of age-related macular degeneration.
- Lutein goes far towards eye health and may help prevent age-related macular degeneration and cataract formation. Since your body cannot produce it naturally you need to eat it in foods such as spinach, green beans, broccoli, eggs and oranges.
Fortunately, it’s easy to make nutrition for eye health into a tasty part of your daily meals and snacks. For example: toss some berries into your yogurt and layer avocado slices in your sandwich. Snack on an orange or a handful of nuts, eat brown rice or quinoa instead of white rice, make a salad with collard greens, chard and kale, and drizzle flaxseed oil over it all. Fish, such as salmon, tuna, sardines and mackerel are all rich with omega-3s too. These are just a few flavorful ideas to get you started.
How to Make the Most of Your Nutrition for Eye Health
Even if you eat all the right foods for your vision care, there are additional factors that influence how well your body absorbs these nutrients. For instance, eating enough healthy fats is essential for your body to benefit from fat-soluble vitamins. Exercise also promotes absorption of nutrients and helps to reduce overall body stress.
As far as what you should not do, red warnings include: don’t smoke and keep alcohol consumption in moderation. These behaviors block your eyes from getting the nutrients they require for long-lasting health.
Taking Eye Care Supplements
It can be confusing to know which eye supplement you should take, or whether you should be taking them at all. The only way to be certain is to consult with your Providence, RI, eye doctor. Dr. Terri Colonna will evaluate your ocular health to determine the most suitable, personalized plan for taking eye care supplements.
While many Americans take vitamin or mineral eye care supplements, new studies warn that these supplements may not be as beneficial as originally thought. Every individual’s genetic makeup determines how helpful they are – or are not. In fact, the studies show that certain eye supplement formulations may worsen the progression of eye disease in specific patients. Also, be forewarned that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn't regulate supplements. Because of this, the quality can vary widely among products that may appear similar. For more information, consult with our eye doctors at Westminster Eyecare Associates.
Annual Eye Exams are Required for Eye Health
Many people wait until they have a problem with their vision or eyes before scheduling a visit to the eye doctor. Yet, some of the most serious eye diseases don’t cause symptoms until they have advanced to a later, more serious stage. That means you won’t notice them until they pose a severe threat to your vision, as opposed to at an early stage – when treatment is easier and more successful. Eye diseases such as macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, and glaucoma can stay silent for a long time, and only an annual eye exam will detect them. Learn more about Eye Emergencies (Pink/Red Eyes).
Just as you take good care of your body, it’s important to take good care of your eyes! For more tips on keeping your eyes healthy, contact our Providence, RI, eye care specialists.