Eye Disorders & Your Diet Print

A healthy balanced diet is important for good eyesight. Vitamin A is a significant factor in many eye disorders. The body converts Beta Carotene to Vitamin A. It is found in yellow and orange-coloured fruit and vegetables (apricots, mangoes, carrots, sweet potatoes and squashes) and in dark green, leafy vegetables (spinach and kale). Ascertain the Halaal status of commercially available Beta Carotene as gelatine may be used as the encapsulating agent. Vitamin A deficiency is a common cause of blindness. Night blindness an inability to adapt to low light intensity, is an initial sign of this deficiency.

Macular Degeneration
Deterioration of the central portion of the retina causes Macular Degeneration. It is a major cause of blindness in the elderly. The damage to the retina is caused by free radicals. Vitamin E and beta-carotene are believed to protect against free radical damage. Beta-carotene and two related carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin are thought to build up in the retina where they filter out damaging rays, making the eyes less vulnerable. The following are recommended to help slow macular degeneration: fresh fruit and vegetables for vitamin C; wheat-germ, seafood and pulses for zinc; lean meat, poultry, fish, nuts, whole grains and green vegetables for B vitamins; cold-pressed seed oils and avocadoes for vitamin E; citrus fruits and bilberries for bioflavonoids; and oily fish for omega-3 fats.

Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye)
An infection or allergy can inflame the delicate membrane covering the front of the eye. A riboflavin deficiency may exhibit as red ring around the front of the eye. A vitamin B deficiency may exhibit as pain, reddening and cracking at the outer corners of the eyes. Consume milk, whole grains and offal for vitamin B.

Glaucoma is a build-up of fluid pressure in the eye. Symptoms include blurred vision, a halo effect around lights and difficulty seeing in the dark. Seek immediate medical assistance if these symptoms arise. Glaucoma has been linked with deficiency of thiamine and vitamin A. Thiamine is found in meat, fish, poultry, whole grains, pulses and nuts.

It is believed that oxidisation of the eye-lens causes cataracts, a clouding of the eye-lens. Vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium and riboflavin may offer protection against this.

Other ailments
Capillaries of diabetics may leak or break, leading to blindness. Supplements of  vitamin C have been found to help protect the blood vessels of diabetics. Overall control of diabetes is essential to control complications.

Bacteria may cause styes, small red boils on the glands that lubricate the eyelashes. Poor nutrition, stress and fatigue may facilitate recurring styes.


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