Maintaining optimal eye health involves a combination of a balanced diet and healthy habits. Health experts recommend incorporating specific foods rich in nutrients essential for eye function while adopting practices that protect overall well-being.
In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Mohd Haseeb Beg, Consultant Ophthalmologist at Ujala Cygnus Group of Hospitals, suggested, “First, a diet abundant in fruits and vegetables provides crucial vitamins and antioxidants. Leafy greens such as spinach and kale are rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, which promote macular health. Additionally, consuming foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, like fatty fish (salmon, mackerel), can contribute to a healthier retina and may help prevent conditions like dry eyes. Antioxidant-rich fruits such as berries, oranges, and kiwi support the eyes by reducing oxidative stress. Vitamin C, found in citrus fruits, plays a vital role in maintaining the blood vessels in the eyes. Including a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables ensures a diverse range of nutrients beneficial for eye health.”
Additionally, he recommended, “Moreover, maintaining a proper balance of micronutrients, including zinc and vitamin E, is essential. Nuts and seeds, such as almonds and sunflower seeds, are excellent sources of vitamin E and can contribute to preventing age-related eye conditions. In terms of habits, staying hydrated is crucial for overall health, including eye health. Drinking an adequate amount of water helps prevent dry eyes and maintains the fluid balance in the eyes. Taking regular breaks during prolonged screen time is another expert-recommended habit. The 20-20-20 rule—looking at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes—helps alleviate eye strain associated with prolonged computer use. Lastly, protecting your eyes from harmful UV rays by wearing sunglasses with UV protection is a simple yet effective practice. Prolonged exposure to UV rays may contribute to cataracts and other eye issues.”
Bringing his expertise to the same, Dr Rishi Raj Borah, Country Director at Orbis, advised, “To enhance eye health, adopting a nutrient-rich diet and cultivating positive lifestyle habits are crucial. Eating a rainbow diet is a great way to improve one’s overall health, including eye health. As oxidative stress and inflammation can aggravate or lead to eye-related conditions like glaucoma, cataracts, and diabetic retinopathy, one should make it a point to incorporate foods abundant in antioxidants, such as leafy greens, colorful fruits like berries and vegetables like carrots and sweet potatoes. In addition, eating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as fatty fish, flaxseeds and walnuts contributes to the structural integrity of the eyes. Moreover, including vitamin A-rich foods like eggs and dairy products and foods loaded with vitamin C and E such as citrus fruits, bell peppers and nuts aids in maintaining proper vision and supporting overall eye health. It is important to keep one’s hydration levels in check by consuming adequate amounts of water throughout the day to prevent conditions like dry eye. Also, by limiting the intake of processed foods and refined sugars, one can curb inflammation.”
He concluded, “The simplest way to protect one’s eyes from the sun’s harmful UV rays is by wearing sunglasses when stepping out during the daylight. People with extended use of smart devices can interrupt their screen time by following the 20-20-20 rule—taking a 20-second break every 20 minutes of screen time to look at something 20 feet away. This practice can help alleviate digital eye strain. In addition, getting regular eye check-ups is necessary so that any issue can be timely detected and addressed before complications arise. Besides, those with comorbidities like diabetes and hypertension should take necessary measures as prescribed by their treating doctor to maintain blood sugar and blood pressure levels respectively, the negligence of which can adversely impact eye health.”
A well-rounded approach to eye health involves a nutrient-rich diet, staying hydrated and adopting healthy habits to protect your eyes from strain and environmental factors. Consulting with an eye care professional for personalised advice is always recommended.