To mark World Sight Day, HuffPost UK Lifestyle set out to find the top ways to prevent sight loss.
According to Ian Grierson, professor of ophthalmology at the University of Liverpool, having a healthy diet is key to caring for your eyes. He recommends getting plenty of Omega-3 fatty acids, carotenoids and vitamins C, E and A.
- Omega-3 fatty acids care for the retina and can be found in oily fish, such as salmon, mackerel and sardines
- Vitamins C, E and A have antioxidant properties that help protect the eye. These can be found in leafy greens such as spinach and leafy cabbage
- Carotenoids act as antioxidants protecting the tissue of the eyes by absorbing harmful blue light. They can be found in tomatoes and carrots
“While research suggests that vitamins A, C, E and zinc can help keep the eye healthy, it is carotenoids, the pigments that occur naturally in plants and algae, which offer the most precise way of targeting the damage that causes sight loss," Dr Grierson said in a statement.
"In particular, the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin act directly to absorb the damaging blue and near-ultraviolet light, in order to protect the macula. Any yellow or orange plants or vegetables contain them. They are also abundant in green vegetables such as kale and spinach."
See below for more foods that are good for your eyes...
He added: “We should be eating 6mg of lutein a day, but the average consumption is only 2mg, which is way too low. In the Second World War, our average intake was 4-5mg and we weren’t even trying. But you cannot just eat vegetables alone, as lutein needs fat to be absorbed.
"Egg yolk is one of the UKs main sources of lutein – there is not much there, but the little there is absorbed efficiently. That is why eggs Florentine is such an effective meal – the spinach is a high source of lutein and the egg yolk maximises absorption.”
Recent studies suggest that although Britons value their eyesight above any other sense, around five million have not had an eye test in the last decade.
Dr Susan Blakeney, the College of Optometrists' clinical adviser, said: "86% of people value their eyesight above any other sense and over two thirds of people wear corrective lenses of some sort.
"However, it often takes a big change in vision or health for people to visit an optometrist to find out what's going on, and that may be too late to reverse any damage to sight, especially if you are in an at-risk group.
"Most people will probably be fine but it's worth remembering not every eye condition has symptoms so regular check-ups, unless otherwise advised by your optometrist, are vital to maintain healthy eyes."
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