In Hong Kong, about 54% of primary 6 students are myopic (short-sighted). Generally speaking, myopia increases with age and it is irreversible. It is more likely to develop eye disorders, such as macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataract or even permanent total blindness, if you have severe short-sightedness. Fortunately, it is proven that a healthy diet can significantly reduce the risk of eye health problems.
It is found that certain nutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids (including DHA), copper, lutein and zeaxanthin are crucial for eye health. The Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) reports are continuously recommended by the American Optometric Association (AOA) and the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), in which, 10 nutrient-rich foods are recommended to boost eye health:
- Fish: many fishes, such as tuna, salmon, trout, mackerel and sardines, are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acid. Some studies have found that omega-3 fatty acid can protect your eyes from age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma and also reverse dry eye.
- Nuts and legumes: Nuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E which helps to reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration and cataract. The types of nuts include, walnuts, cashews, peanuts and lentils.
- Seeds: Seeds, such as chia seeds, flax seeds and hemp seeds, are also high in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E.
- Citrus fruits: Including lemons, oranges and grapefruits, are rich in vitamin C, which is an antioxidant to fight age-related eye damage.
- Leafy green vegetables: Spinach, kale and collards, for example, are rich in lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamin C and E.
- Carrots: It is rich in vitamin A and beta carotene. Vitamin A plays an essential role in vision which helps the retina to absorb light; and beta carotene can help body to make vitamin A.
- Sweet potatoes: Rich in beta carotene and vitamin E which is a good source of antioxidant.
- Beef: Rich in zinc, which brings vitamin A from your liver to your retina. It can help delay age-related visual loss and macular degeneration.
- Eggs: The zinc in an egg will help your body in utilizing the lutein and zeaxanthin from the yolk, which can reduce the risk of age-related visual loss and block harmful blue light from damaging your retina.
- Water: Drinking plenty of water can prevent eyes from drying.