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Eyefoods Tips

Eyefoods Tips: Orange Veggies

Eyefoods TipsLaurie Capogna

Don't Forget About Orange Veggies! 

Carrots were historically hailed as the best food to eat for your eyes, so most people expect orange vegetables to top the list of foods that promote eye health. High in beta-carotene, orange vegetables are an important part of any diet focused on eye health. However, recent studies are raising questions regarding taking a beta-carotene supplement. So, what is the story with beta-carotene and our eyes?

Everyone should eat foods that are high in beta-carotene to help maintain healthy eyes and vision.

  • Beta-carotene is made into vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A is an important part of the visual pathway for both rods and cones. 
  • Diets high in beta-carotene may reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration.

People that smoke should not take beta-carotene supplements.

Taking beta-carotene supplements can increase the risk of lung cancer in smokers. However, eating a diet rich in beta-carotene does not increase the risk of lung cancer.

Include these foods in your diet several times per week: 

Sweet potato, canned pumpkin, butternut squash, and carrots

In addition to being high in beta-carotene, these orange vegetables are a source of vitamin E, zinc, fiber, lutein and zeaxanthin and vitamin C. Sweet potatoes top the list as the number one orange vegetable because they are the best food source of beta-carotene. They also contain a significant amount of fiber.

Eyefoods Tips: Omega 3's

Eyefoods TipsLaurie Capogna

To get the same amount of Omega 3 that you would get form 1 fillet of salmon you would need to eat a dozen eggs.

Omega 3 eggs are a great Eyefood however, they don’t replace fish in the diet.

Eating 2 servings of wild salmon (Alaska) per week and 2 servings of other cold-water fis will provide your body with an omega-3 intake equivalent to 850 mg of DHA and EPA per day.

In comparison one omega-3 egg contains approximately 125mg of DHA (omega-3 fatty acids).  Although they are not a replacement for DHA and EPA in fish, eggs are a great source of other eye nutrients such as lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamin E and zinc.

Omega 3 fatty acids are important for eye health as they can decrease the risk of age-related macular degeneration and are also therapeutic for patients with dry eye syndrome.

Take note however, that you should not take more than three grams of omega-3 fatty acids per day unless under the care of a physician. High levels may cause excessive bleeding in rare cases.

Eyefoods Tips: Sunglasses

Eyefoods TipsLaurie Capogna

Protect your eyes 365. Wear your sunglasses everyday!

Over exposure to UV light may cause cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, skin cancer, sunburns and premature aging of the skin.

Sunglasses are important to wear all year round, not just in the summer! There is year round direct glare from the dun above and its reflection below. There is also reflected from surfaces like car windshields or puddles on the road.

The difference between a high quality pair of sunglasses and a low quality pair is measured by the UV protection they give and by the way they filter blue light. The gold standard in sunglasses for UV protection has been UV 400 which will protect against UV categories A, B and C.

A high quality pair of sunglasses will filter both UV and blue light, while still absorbing the damaging energy of blue light, they will still allow you to see colours normally.

Another available feature is a polarized filter. This will eliminate reflected glare from the road, water, windshields, and other flat shiny surfaces. It will also allow you to see below the water’s surface, so are great for fishing.

Eyefoods Tips: Smoking

Eyefoods TipsLaurie Capogna

Smoking is the number 1 modifiable risk factor for leading cause of blindness in the world – AMD

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a chronic disease of the central part of the retina, the macula. It is the leading cause of blindness in the Western world.

There are two forms of AMD: dry AMD which is more common and wet AMD.

Dry AMD occurs when cells in the macula begin to break down, causing a thinning of the macula and a gradual decrease in vision.  In addition the retina is unable to rid itself of its metabolic wasted – lipofuscin and it accumulates in the retina as drusen , which blocks normal functioning of the retina.

Dry AMD can lead to wet AMD. Wet AMD is caused by the growth of abnormal blood vessels in the choroid, which provides blood supply to the retina.  The new vessels are weak and can lead fluid into the retina, causing a decrease in vision that is more rapid and dramatic than in dry AMD.

Smoking is one of the highest risk factors for AMD as it promotes oxidative damage to the retina.

Eyecare professionals recommend that most patients with AMD take and AREDs- type vitamin supplement and an omega-3 fatty acid supplement. However, numerous studies have shown a relationship between nutrition and AMD. Some key nutrients for the prevention of AMD are, lutein and zeaxanthin, vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, zinc and, omega-3 fatty acids.

For the best treatment plan for you it is best to consult with your optometrist.

Eyefoods Tips: Lutein & Zeaxanthin

Eyefoods TipsLaurie Capogna

One medium leaf of kale contains the Eyefoods daily recommended dose of Lutein and zeaxanthin.

Kale is a top Eyefood! It is a nutritional powerhouse containing large amounts of disease fighting anti-oxidants, carotenoids and other nutrients. The nutrients in Kale have been shown to be protective against age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, cardiovascular disease and, cancer.

One leaf of kale contains nearly 10mg of lutein which is the daily recommended dose. Lutein and its side kick zeaxanthin, are pigments abundant in the macula that exert protective effects on the retina. They protect against oxidative damage, UV and blue light.

As kale is such a great nutrient source, eating it every week is a great way to protect your eyes from age-related macular degeneration, the number one cause of vision loss in North America.  With the additional nutrients in kale, it makes a great choice for vision and all around health for your body!


Eyefoods Kale Tips:

  • To revive ‘wilted’ kale from your refrigerator, cut an inch or two off of the stems and place in cold water for 15 to 30 minutes.
  • It is a cold weather vegetable. It grows best in spring and fall harvesting kale after the first frost gives it a smoother flavor.
  • Enjoy both raw and cooked with a small amount of healthy fat, such as extra virgin olive oil to receive all of its nutritional benefits.
  • Kale makes a great addition to your smoothies and salads. Or for a tasty snack, try kale chips.

Eyefoods Tips: Antioxidants

Eyefoods TipsLaurie Capogna

Antioxidants help prevent eye disease such as AMD and Cataracts.

  • Get your antioxidants by eating brightly coloured fruits and vegetables.
  •  Getting them from food versus only from supplements allows your body to benefit from the synergy of the nutrients in foods.

Antioxidants are a class of substances that help to prevent oxidation in the body. Examples are, vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C and vitamin E, as well as phytochemicals such as the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin.

Oxidation is a chemical reaction in the body that changes a stable molecule into a free radical. Free radicals can form from environmental factors including, exposure to UV light, hazardous chemicals and air pollution. They can also be formed due to the natural aging process, poor dietary habits and smoking.

If left unchecked free radicals can damage the body and tissues leading to a variety of chronic disease such as age-related macular degenerations, cancer and cardiovascular disease.

However, antioxidants may reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration and cataracts, cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease and cancer.

Fruits and vegetables, cold water fish, eggs and plant oils are some examples of great antioxidant sources for vision health.

Eyefoods Tips: Eggs

Eyefoods TipsLaurie Capogna

4 eggs per week, the yolk is good

Eggs are a great source of eye nutrients. They contain significant amounts of vitamin E, lutein, and omega-3 fatty acids. Most of the eggs nutrients are in the yolk, so you should eat the entire egg for the full nutritional benefit.

Historically, eggs have not been considered a health food because of their cholesterol content. A large study in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1999 found that there was no link between moderate egg consumption (one egg per day) and an increased risk of stroke or cardiovascular disease in healthy patients.

Eyefoods Tip: When buying eggs, look for those highest in omega-3 fatty acids whenever possible. Also, eggs that have been fed a diet high in flax and corn have high lutein and omega-3 content. Eggs with a high omega-3 content also tend to be a good source of vitamin E.

Eyefoods Tips: Berries

Eyefoods TipsLaurie Capogna

Fruit is an important part of a healthy diet. It contains high amounts of a variety of nutrients, especially antioxidants. 

Antioxidants help to prevent oxidation in the body - a chemical reaction that changes a stable molecule into a free radical. Exposure to certain environmental factors, UV light, hazardous chemicals, air pollution, poor dietary habits and smoking can all trigger free radicals to form.

For our eye health antioxidants may reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. They also have been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease and cancer as well as enhance immune function. 

A great way to obtain more antioxidants in your diet is through fruit, especially berries! All berries are high in antioxidants and contain vitamin C, vitamin E and fibre.

Summertime is the perfect season to enjoy so many great varieties of fresh berries!

Eyefoods Tips:

   Add fresh or frozen berries to your morning smoothie.

   Add fresh summer berries to your salad. 

   Enjoy in a yogurt parfait.

   Berries make a great mid-afternoon or mid-morning snack.


Eyefoods Tips: Orange Peppers

Eyefoods TipsLaurie Capogna

Eat 2 orange peppers per week, 2 ways – raw and cooked

  • Orange peppers are one of the best food sources of that macular pigment zeaxanthin.
  • They make a great addition to salads and stir fry’s.

Orange peppers have the highest amount of eye nutrients of all of the coloured peppers! They are an all-star Eyefood!

Orange peppers are one of the best food sources of zeaxanthin. Zeaxanthin along with lutein is a macular pigment that may reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration.  Half of an orange pepper contains approximately 2mg of zeaxanthin, the amount present in AREDS 2 used for prevention of AMD.

Orange peppers are a great source of antioxidants. They contain more vitamin C than all other colored peppers as well as over 3 times the amount of vitamin C in an orange. They are also the highest vegetable source of vitamin E, making them a great low calorie source of vitamin E as it is more commonly found in fats and oils.


Here’s some great ways to incorporate this Eyefood into your diet:

  • Add chopped peppers to a spinach or bean salad.
  • Sauté orange, yellow and red peppers with skinless boneless turkey breast.
  •  Enjoy raw as a snack.
  • Add chopped orange peppers to your omelet. 

Eyefoods Tips: Blue Light

Eyefoods TipsLaurie Capogna

Do you work on a computer all day? Lutein and zeaxanthin are in the retina and protect our eyes from blue light emitted by our technology devices.

Computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones all emit high amounts of blue light. 

Blue light (short wavelength visible light) causes oxidative stress to the retina.  This will have a particular effect on people with less of the macular pigments lutein and zeaxanthin. People with light coloured irides, people with AMD, and people with a genetic predisposition to AMD are more susceptible to the harmful effects of blur light. 

In addition to damage to the retina, blue light also causes glare and eye fatigue. Protect your eyes from blue light by wearing glasses that filter.

Lutein and zeaxanthin are pigments that found in the macula (the central part of the retina). Our bodies can not make lutein and zeaxanthin and so we must obtain them from our diet.  Lutein and zeaxanthin act to absorb blue and UV light which protects the macular from their harmful effects. 

Kale, and dark leafy greens are a great source of lutein and zeaxanthin, with Kale being the top Eyefood for eye nutrients. 

A diet high in lutein and zeaxanthin can improve vision in those with age related macular degeneration and also protect against it.

If you use technology devices often you should also consider asking your optometrist about blue blocking lenses for added vision protection. 


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