10 vegies that will boost your eye health

A diet rich in vegetables can help keep your eyes healthier for longer. Look after your peepers by putting these nutritious foods on your plate.

Good vision is a key factor for living a healthy and happy life.

Yet almost 60 per cent of Aussies are worried about the quality of their eyesight, according to the 2020 Vision Index.

Experts agree diet plays an important role in eye health and vegetables provide vital nutrients to maintain the healthy eyesight.

So which vegies should you look out for to keep your eyes healthy?

Kale and spinach

Dark green leafy vegetables are high in powerful disease-fighting antioxidants so add bok choy, cabbage and silverbeet to the menu too.

“These vegetables contain lutein and zeaxanthin that help protect the macula at the back of the eye. Aim to eat a couple of serves of dark green leafy vegetables every day,” says Optometry Australia national professional services advisor Sophie Koh.

The macula is a small area in the centre of the retina that helps us see what is in front of us.

Corn, beans and pumpkin

These vegetables contain vitamin A, vitamin E and zinc.

“These nutrients also protect the macula and its rich blood supply,” says Sophie.

Carrots and sweet potato

It’s a myth that carrots will help you see better in the dark, although about a third of (Australian) people believe that,” says Sophie.

But orange vegetables do contain beta-carotene, which is a key source of vitamin A that helps maintain good vision and keeps eyes lubricated.

Red capsicum

These contain vitamin C which nourishes blood vessels.

UK research found that people who ate more vitamin C reduced their risk of developing cataracts by about 33 per cent.

Cataracts occur when the usually clear lens of the eye becomes cloudy.

“The findings of the study could have significant impact, particularly for the ageing population globally by suggesting that simple dietary changes, such as increased intake of fruit and vegetables as part of a healthier diet, could help protect them from cataracts,” reported King’s College London Professor Chris Hammond.

Broccoli and Brussel sprouts

These contain a combination of goodies including lutein, zeaxanthin, beta-carotene, vitamin C and vitamin E.

In combination, they nourish cells and tissues in the eyes.

Other ways to look after your eyes

Don’t smoke

Smoking can lead to cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.

Heavier smokers – those who smoke 20 cigarettes a day or more – are particularly at risk according to University of South Australia research.

Wear wraparound sunglasses

Choose sunglasses that meet the Australian standards with a lens category of 2, 3 or 4 on the swing tag, advises the Cancer Council.

Don’t forget young eyes need to be protected against UV radiation, too.

Get your eyes checked

Some 35 per cent of Australians have not had regular eye examinations, according to The 2020 Vision Index.

Written by Sarah Marinos.