When it comes to your eyes, what's in your grocery cart matters. So, think fresh, and think color.
Dr.Yousuf Khalifa, Chief of Opthamology at Grady Memorial Hospital, says two Age-Related Eye Disease Studies (AREDS in 2001 and AREDS2 in 2013) showed foods high in antioxidants may slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of irreversible blindness as we get older. Dr. Khalifa says "In macular degeneration, you're losing that fine print kind of vision,. That central vision, that central acuity, will go first."
Dr. Khalifa says the foods high in vitamins A, C, E and the mineral zinc are protective. So are foods rich inbeta carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, and omega-3 fatty acids. He says, start by loading up in the produce department. He says, choose, "Green leafy vegetables, orange and yellow fruits and vegetables."
For Vitamin A, the Harvard Health Letter recommends carrots, raw red peppers, and sweet potatoes.
For vitamins C, pick up some broccoli, grapefruit and oranges.
And for vitamin E Vitamin E go for nuts like almonds, peanut butter and spinach.
Then, Khalifa says, stop by the fish department. He says, "You can eat fresh, fatty cold water fish, like salmon and halibut are very helpful. Those give you the omega-3 fatty acids."
And, while AMD affects older people, another really common disease is blinding many younger Georgians. Dr.Khalifa says, "The big gorilla in the room is diabetes. And diabetic retinopathy is a huge scourge in the south. We have a disproportionate number of blind patients from diabetes."
To lower your risk of weight-related diabetes, focus on getting a balance of healthy foods.
Choosing non-starchy vegetables, beans and fruits. Whole grains. And healthier fats like olive oil. Because better choices - can add up to better vision.
Experts recommend a dilated eye exam every year or two. Dr. Khalifa says if you have a family history of diabetes, glaucoma or AMD, you need to stay on top of your eye health with regular exams.
Other healthy habits to protect your vision? Control you blood sugar, your blood pressure and your cholesterol. If you smoke, quit. And regular exercise can help protect your overall health and your eyes.