Your eyeballs may only be a small part of your body; each is about the size of a ping pong ball, but vision processing requires a lot of energy, so eyes require high levels of metabolites and have some very specific requirements. As well as the usual carbohydrates, proteins, fats,minerals, vitamins etc that the rest of your body needs to be healthy your eyes also require specific substances called lutein and zeaxanthin.
Science is continually discovering new facts about how our diet affects our body, brain and vision. As a result we are encouraged to eat healthier or take supplements to become healthier. Advice in the media sometimes seems contradictory but at other-times science appears to validate 'old wives tales'. Sometimes we need to take newspaper articles with a pinch of salt, although not literally, other times they can make you sit back and think about whether you really do eat a varied, balanced and sensible diet.
- A varied diet is the key to healthy sight. Anyone who restricts their food intake to a minimum of food or food groups risks damaging their Eyes and therefore their vision. Obesity, annorexia, bulimia and even othorexia (extreme obsession with healthy eating) can destroy good sight.
- If your diet is not varied, balanced or healthy then you may need to change it. Sometimes (especially in the short term) supplements can help. However if you have health problems that require medication and/or supplements it is advisable to seek advise from your GP before adding yet more supplements or making any major dietary changes. Some illnesses need more than just a better diet and some medications and supplements may react badly together, causing more problems than they solve – hence the need to discuss your health care with a qualified practitioner.
Fruit and vegetables that have the most benefit to eyes and vision are often brightly coloured so one way of categorising them is by dividing them into groups depending on their colour i.e. dark greens, yellows and oranges, purple/bluey hues and reds. A healthy diet consists of regular intake of all food types.
Everyone knows that smoking is bad for your health but few people seem to realise the damage it can do to your eyes,
- Superficially cigarette smoke can cause red, tired looking eyes that make you look old before your time.
- More serious is the damage done to the retina – your relaxing smoking habit really could cause you to go blind.
Stopping smoking as soon as you can and improving your diet could increase your chances of maintaining good vision but unfortunately nothing can mitigate the damage caused by a life time of heavy smoking.