As we get older, it’s normal to see changes in our vision. We may find it harder to see things clearly up close, for example.
But don’t panic, there are things we can do to take good care of our eyes and keep them healthy. That includes making good food choices.
About 17% of people living in the U.S. – or more than 1 in 6 – are age 65 or older. This number is expected to grow to 22% by 2050. The rate of vision impairments triples for Americans as they age from 65 to 85 and older.
Age-related macular degeneration
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the primary cause of vision loss in older people in the U.S. The risk of this condition increases with age. It is estimated by 2050, 5.4 million Americans will have age-related vision loss.
Although genetics is a risk factor for AMD, other factors can impact risk. These include smoking, physical activity, and nutrition.
Eating more nutrient-rich vegetables, fruits, and less red meat can help eye health as one ages. Nutrients that are good for eye health include vitamin A, C, and E. Antioxidants such as lutein and zeaxanthin can also be helpful.
Examples of what foods have these nutrients are below:
- Sweet Potatoes
- Brussel Sprouts
- Sunflower Seeds
- Sunflower oil
- Wheat Germ
Lutein and Zeaxanthin
- Bell peppers
If you have diabetes, research suggests a link between vitamin D deficiency and diabetic retinopathy.
Diabetic retinopathy is a condition where diabetes affects blood vessels in the retina. It can cause vision loss and blindness in diabetic people. Learn more.
Vitamin D rich foods such as salmon or other types of fatty fish are also high in omega-3s. Omega-3 fatty acids may also be good for your heart.
Vitamin D rich foods
- UV-exposed mushrooms
- Fortified juices
- Dairy and plant-based milks
Catechins found in green tea may also help reduce risk for age-related vision problems. This includes cataracts, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy.
If you’re already affected by age–related vision loss, your health care provider may recommend vitamin supplements. While vision loss can happen as we get older, eye health is important at any age.
Read our tips on eye health to help your eye health at any age.