ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — If you are reading this article, it is likely that you enjoy good vision. A nutritious diet is important throughout life for maintaining eye health. Research has found that specific food components are particularly helpful for protection from age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a condition that effects as many as one in three American adults over the age of 60.
Research on AMD and diet focuses on both preventing and slowing the progression of the disease. Two recently published European studies of over 5,000 people found
that those who ate a Mediterranean-style diet had a lower risk of developing AMD. The diets shown to be protective focused on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, fish, poultry and plant-based oils.
People adhering to this eating pattern had a greater intake of carotenoids, such as lutein and zeaxanthin. These phytochemicals help to absorb harmful blue light that may accumulate and damage the retina of the eye. The best sources of lutein and zeaxanthin are dark green leafy vegetables, such as kale, spinach and other greens. From these studies and others, it is generally agreed that for prevention of AMD a healthful diet, not dietary supplements, offers good protection.