Incorporating more leafy greens into your diet can help maintain and even boost your vision health. Leafy greens are rich in lutein and zeaxanthin. Eyesite of the Villages, your local cataract doctor, elaborates on the role of these nutrients below.
The Role of Lutein and Zeaxanthin
Lutein and zeaxanthin are carotenoids, pigments that give vegetables their color. These two dietary carotenoids also form the pigment in the macula, the center of the retina, that protects the eyes’ photoreceptor cells.
Oxidative Stress and Blue Light
The retina, located at the back part of the eye, is responsible for sending images to your brain. The macula, which has the highest concentration of photoreceptors, is also the most sensitive part of the retina. The macula is responsible for interpreting colors and important vision tasks like reading, recognizing faces and viewing road signs.
In addition to the aging process, constant exposure to high-energy blue light (particularly from electronic devices) can cause oxidative stress, which can, in turn, hasten macular degeneration. One way to reduce your risk of macular degeneration is to reduce screen time. Another way is to incorporate sources of antioxidants into your diet, such as lutein and zeaxanthin.
Leafy Greens to Include in Your Diet
What vegetables are rich in lutein, zeaxanthin, and other eye-healthy nutrients? Your local glaucoma doctor recommends incorporating more of the following vegetables in your diet:
- Spinach (Try adding it to smoothies)
- Kale (Put kale sprinkled with salt and drizzled with olive oil in the oven to make kale chips)
- Watercress (Substitute watercress for basil in pesto)
- Arugula (Arugula leaves are a great pizza topping)
Keep in mind that just because you’re eating healthier doesn’t mean you need to see your eye doctor less often. Remember: frequent visits to your local glaucoma doctor are also key to maintaining vision health.
Eyesite of the Villages offers a wide range of professional eye care services. To schedule an appointment with one of our optometrists, call us at (352) 674-3937 or leave us a message here. We serve patients in Fruitland Park and Lady Lake, FL, as well as the surrounding communities.