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Support healthy eyes and good vision

Ageing is an inevitable process in which many of our bodily functions are vulnerable to. Our eyesight is one function in particular which will start to diminish for many of us. More often than not, this loss in function is due to an age-related condition called macular degeneration (AMD), the most common cause of blindness in seniors.

You can take steps to reduce your likelihood of developing this condition with certain dietary and lifestyle changes and including a few key eye-protecting nutrients:

Eat lots of carotenoid rich foods. There is a particular carotenoid called zeaxanthin which has been shown to slow down the process of AMD in older men. Zeaxanthin can be found in the yellow pigment in vegetables so include lots of yellow peppers into your diet, as well as kale, spinach and egg yolks.

Carotenoids are then converted into vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A supports retina function, as well as low-light and colour vision. Food sources of vitamin A include animal products such as liver, eggs, shrimp, salmon and whole milk. For vegetarian and vegans be sure to eat lots of carotenoid foods or consider a vitamin A supplement.

Another vision saving nutrient is lutein, a herbal antioxidant that is important in protecting the retina as well as support macula health, it has been shown that a diet rich in dark green leafy vegetables have particular benefits for people who suffer from eye disorders, most likely due to the high lutein content. Foods rich in lutein include eggs, leafy greens like spinach and kale, collard greens and broccoli.

Bioflavanoids found in tea, red wine, citrus fruits, bilberries, blueberries, cherries and legumes may protect against cataracts and macular degeneration. Add a handful of fresh berries to your morning breakfast or smoothie, or enjoy as a healthy snack with nuts and seeds.

Include oily fish in your diet. These are rich in omega 3 fatty acids which are anti-inflammatory. There is research to suggest that eating oily fish once per week can reduce the risk of developing age-related macula degeneration and studies have been shown to improve eye sight in those with the condition from supplementing a high dose omega 3 fatty acid.

Wear protective glasses! Sunlight exposure directly in the eye can damage this delicate area, which can lead to AMD.

Stop smoking and limit drinking alcohol. Smoking and excessive alocohl intake have been linked to poor eye health, and are associated with lower serum lutein levels.

Our sedentary lifestyles, where we are often sat at computers all day, do not do much to support eye health. Try to take regular breaks from looking at screens. Getting up to move and change the focus of your vision from short to long distances can help support eye health. Consider reducing glare from any screens with an anti-glare monitor, or downloading the f.lux app to filter blue lights from your computer screen. Readjust the lighting around your house or office, using floor lamps and low-intensity light bulbs instead of fluorescent lighting.