As the old adage goes: “you are what you eat”.

In this segment from Island Retina we want to bring to your attention eye healthy foods that may prevent you from undergoing further vision loss, and may help to prolong your vision as you reach your elder years. The good news is that what is good for the eyes, is good for the entire body.

In this segment we are going to present to you fun facts about varieties of foods proven to be good for visual health, we’re going to show you some of our own favorite recipes. We also ask you to submit some of your favorite recipes for good health, and good vision to our website BLOG at

Fun Visual Food Facts:

Shellfish:  It is found that seniors who ate at least one serving a week of fish or shellfish high in omega-3's reduced their risk of developing advanced age-related macular degeneration (ARMD). Included in this group are Alaskan crabs, mussels, shrimp, which are right up there with oysters providing up to 14% of the DV (Daily Value).

Legumes:  Legumes of all kinds including peas, beans [Lima, kidney, peanuts] contain trace elements of zinc that are needed for good vision.  Other foods that contain high concentrations of zinc are oysters, lean red meat, poultry, and fortified cereals.  Nuts high in omega-3 content include flax, chia, walnuts, and pumpkin seeds.

Fruit: Oranges and their citrus cousins, yellow lemons, and grapefruit are all high in vitamin C, an antioxidant that is critical to eye health.   The antioxidant properties of these citrus fruits can prevent or at least delay cataracts and ARMD.  Included in this category are the ever-popular strawberries, peaches, red peppers, and tomatoes that are exceedingly high in lycopene!

Fish:  Diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids from cold-water fish such as salmon, tuna, halibut, sardines, mackerel, and striped bass reduce the risk of developing eye diseases later in life.  The cold-water fish such as catfish and bass provide the most eye health benefits.   These healthy fats not only reduce inflammation, which can improve dry eye symptoms, but studies [Johns Hopkins University] have shown that they may also reduce abnormal vessel growth in those with diabetic retinopathy. That’s one of the leading causes of blindness in middle age adults.

Green leafy vegetables:  Kale, is high in lutein and zeaxanthin, is believed to lower your risk of age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.  Kale in a salad may taste too bitter for you if so, try roasting it. Other dark leafy green vegetables to choose from include spinach, broccoli, green peas, Romaine lettuce, turnip greens, avocados, and Collard greens.  Eggs are part of this category and are also rich in lutein and zeaxanthin.

Lean red meat:  Beef is often overlooked as a healthy benefit for vision, but eating red meat does contain nutrients that are important for your eyes.  Beef contains fat, which helps you absorb fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin A. Like all of the other antioxidants that have been mentioned above, vitamin A helps protect the eyes form environmental damage.  Red meat also contains zinc.  Useful to know, the body does not retain zinc (Zn++), so we have to eat zinc regularly.

Some Helpful References:  

We invite you to enjoy our recipes and we celebrate “Eye Health Month”.

We hope you will join us!

James Soque
Island Retina Staff