Aging is inevitable, but are age-related problems such as poor vision absolute givens? Contrary to popular belief, your vision is largely dependent on your lifestyle. Nourishing your eyes with appropriate nutrients throughout the years can go a long way toward maintaining good eyesight well into your senior years.
Even if your eyesight has started to deteriorate, evidence suggests you can stop the deterioration. You may even be able to turn back the clock, as it were, and improve your vision.
Medical journalist Michael Mosley discussed his vision problems and experiences with nutritional intervention in an episode of the BBC program “Trust Me, I’m a Doctor.”1 The shape and length of your eyeballs, and the thickness of your eye lens, affect your ability to see things close-up and at a distance. Your retina, located at the back of your eye, also contains light-sensitive cells that are critical for good vision.
Your macula — the part of your retina responsible for central vision — is protected by a yellow pigment made up of lutein, zeaxanthin and meso-zeaxanthin. These compounds absorb light and protect your macula from blue light and ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun and other light sources.2
Lutein, zeaxanthin and meso-zeaxanthin are plant compounds with potent antioxidant capacities. Your body cannot make them, so you must get them from your diet. As noted by the BBC:3
“Lutein and zeaxanthin are found commonly in dark green leafy veg such as kale and spinach, and also bell peppers … and saffron. Meso-zeaxanthin is generally not found in plants — it is thought to be made in our bodies from lutein (although it is also present in some fish …) These pigments, once we eat them, appear to be important in our vision and in helping keep the macula healthy.”
Mosley describes undergoing a number of extensive vision tests designed to evaluate the health of his retina, his ability to see colors, night vision and the level of protection his macula had against UV and blue light. He explained:4