Eating the right and healthy food are very important for eye care. The food must contain the necessary vitamins, antioxidants and minerals. Eating the right foods can lower the risk of many eye diseases.

The important nutrients for eye health include:

• Vitamin A
• Vitamin C
• Vitamin E
• Selenium
• Zinc
• Antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin

A major US study has found that vitamins A, C, E, selenium and zinc can slow down the age-related macular degeneration in existing and low grade patients. Vitamins C and E may help to prevent development or to reduce the progression of cataracts.

Lutein and zeaxanthin are deposited in the eyes and these antioxidants help to scavenge or neutralize free radicals which can cause cell damage in the eyes. Overexposure to the sun’s UV radiation is a main cause of oxidative damage of the eyes. Dark coloured fruits and vegetables contain lutein and zeaxanthin and they include: spinach, kale, Brussels sprouts, kiwi fruit, mango, prunes, water melon, squash, broccoli, orange peppers, grapes, papaya, pumpkin, sweet corn, green beans, peas, oranges, peaches, sweet potatoes and dark green lettuce.

For maximum benefit eat the vegetables lightly cooked so that the cells are break down and the bioavailability of lutein and zeaxanthin is increased.

Vitamin A is rich in liver, carrots, spinach, mango, cantaloupe and kale. Vitamin C is rich in papaya, green bell pepper, oranges and in other citrus fruits, broccoli, sweet potatoes and red chilli. Plant oils are rich in Vitamin E.

Brazil nuts, ground nuts and other tropical nuts contain lot of selenium. In countries where the soil is poor in selenium many foods are enriched with this important mineral. Meat, nuts, pulses and beans are rich in zinc.