What foods are good for your eyes?

13 December 2016



What foods are good for your eyes?


We put Ellen's question to Roger Buckley... Roger - Well Giles was talking about the mediterranean diet and I think that would be a good start. What you need actually, is not any fatty diet or unusual diet, but a good balanced diet. And the story of the mediterranean diet goes back for many years. It was very recently, as recently as last month, shown in a scientific study of 5 thousand people that it does protect against macular degeneration, which is a very common cause of loss of clear vision in elderly people.

Chris - What actually is that for people who are not in the know - what is macular degeneration?

Roger - We were talking earlier about the centre of the retina, a very small area which gives the most precise vision and the colour vision, and that's the area which is vulnerable for various reasons. There are different types of macular degeneration but, on the whole, the tend to fate old people. We live in an ageing society and this condition becomes commoner as time goes by.

It doesn't blind you but it does mean you can't see clearly. You can certainly get about but you wouldn't, for example, be able to recognise faces across the road or read a newspaper, except the headlines.

Chris - And so, apart from eating a mediterranean diet from an early stage in your life because that's what your answer presupposes that I've been doing that for a nice long time and I don't get macular degeneration in the first place?

Roger - Yes.

Chris - If I know I've got something like happening, is it too late - is there anything I can do to start eating something that will stop that happening or is there nothing just apart from eating healthily?

Roger - Well, there is the five a day rule, which was introduced some time ago, and that is, actually, a little portion of the mediterranean diet, so that's keeping it quite simple. It is shown also in cataracts, that's something that also affects old people, that there are certain vitamins that may be helpful. For example, vitamin C and E and the carotenoids which includes lutein and zeaxanthin, and they occur in dark green leafy vegetables. And so, one would certainly encourage that.

There are certain things that would be discouraged in macular degeneration and the number one probably is smoking.


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