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A number of recent studies on nutrients and eye health have indicated that diet can benefit your long term eye health.

  • Load up on vitamins, minerals and antioxidants;
  • Eat very little of the saturated fats and vegetable oils (including margarine).
  • Look for foods with vitamins C and E, carotenoids, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids.  Pick and mix to suit your budget, general health profile, and personal preferences.

As part of Save our Sight month, the New Zealand Association of Optometrists is promoting the importance of good nutrition in eye health.

The easiest way to start eating for eye health is to follow the 5-plus rule for fruits and vegetables.  Go for colour.  

  1. Leafy dark greens like silver beet, spinach, puha, and dark salad greens.
  2. Berries - all kinds: black, blue and red.
  3. Orange, yellow and red vegetables: pumpkin, carrots, sweet corn, kumara.
  4. Orange, yellow and red fruits: citrus fruits, apricots, persimmon, papaya, plums, rockmelon and watermelon (and tomato because it is technically a fruit).
  5. Cruciferous vegetables - broccoli, cabbage, bok choy and brussel sprouts.
  6. Fish, particularly shellfish, and “fatty” fish like tuna, salmon and sardines – fresh or canned.
  7. Nuts, raw or dry-roasted - walnuts, almonds, brazil and pine-nuts.
  8. Beans
  9. Lean meats
  10. Olive oil - to make dressings, and for cooking.

Bon Appetit


AREDS [Age Related Eye Disease Study]
Blue Mountains Eye Study
Beaver Dam Eye Study
A feast for the eyes. Australian Optometry, February 2004; 10-11
Cho E, Hung S et al. Prospective study of dietary fat and the risk of age-related macular degeneration. Am J Clin Nutr 2001; 73: 209-218.
Cho E, Seddon JM et al. Prospective study of intake of fruits, vegetables, vitamins, and carotenoids and risk of age-related maculopathy. Arch Ophthalmol. 2004; 122: 883-892
Heuberger RA, Mares-Perlman JA et al. Relationship of dietary fat to age-related maculopathy in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Arch Ophthalmol. 2001; 119(12):1833-8.  
International Food Information Council, Food Insight Newsletter. 2002; September/October [http://www.icif.org/foodinsight/2002/so/feastforeyesfi502.cfm; viewed 4/08/2004]
Richer S, Stiles W et al. Double-masked, placebo-controlled, randomized trial of lutein and antioxidant supplementation in the intervention of atrophic age-related macular degeneration: the Veterans LAST study (Lutein Antioxidant Supplementation Trial). Optometry 2004; 75:216-230.
Seddon JM, Rosner B et al. Dietary fat and risk for advanced age-related macular degeneration. Arch Ophthalmol. 2001; 119: 1191-1199.
Seddon JM, Cote J et al. Progression of age-related macular degeneration: association with dietary fat, transunsaturated fat, nuts and fish intake.  Arc Ophthalmol 2003; 121: 1728-1737.
Schmidt-Erfurth U. Nutrition and retina. Dev Ophthalmol. 2005; 38:120-47.
Smith W et al. Dietary fat and fish intake and age-related maculopathy. Arch Ophthalmol. 2000; 118: 401-404.
Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter, January 2002; 19(11): 4-5.

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