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What is the best food for eye health?

An estimated 22 million Americans age 40 and older have cataracts, a clouding of the eye's lens that prevents the passage of light needed for vision. However, with regular eye check-ups, cataracts do not have to lead to vision loss for most Americans. What you eat can help protect your vision, too.

Look for foods that provide vitamins E and C, two eye-healthy antioxidants. Vitamin E is found in nuts, vegetable oils, fortified cereals and sweet potatoes; vitamin C is found in foods like oranges, grapefruit, spinach and broccoli.

And consider this: A preliminary study suggests caffeine also might have an anti-cataract effect. So, your next cup of coffee just might keep your eyes healthy and open.

The latest research suggests that what you eat may help reduce the risk of the leading causes of eye diseases, advanced macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts.

Approximately 7 million Americans are at risk for AMD, which is the leading cause of central blindness. Individuals with AMD are unable to see images directly in front of them.

In addition, more than 50 million Americans suffer with cloudy vision due to cataracts. Both of these eye disorders impact the ability for individuals to work, socialize, and even function in their homes, especially if they are living alone.

The good news is that a waist-friendly diet, chock full of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables and omega-3 fatty acids-rich fish, may not only reduce your risk of developing AMD and cataracts, but also heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes. That's a lot of health coverage per bite.

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It's true that beta-carotene in carrots is good for your eyes, but so are ample amounts of vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids. They can all greatly reduce your risk of age-related macular degeneration, an eye disease that's common with aging and can lead to blindness. Fill up on oranges, strawberries, and leafy greens for vitamin C. Add turkey and chicken to your diet for zinc. Eat almonds and peanut butter for vitamin E, and cook up salmon, tuna, or halibut for omega-3s.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.