Excessive exposure of children to video games, mobiles, computers, televisions has been adversely impacting their eye health. Moreover, India has become the diabetes capital of the world with as many as 50 million people suffering from type-2 diabetes.

 The National Programme for Control of Blindness (NPCB), the Central government has been making constant efforts since 1976 to reduce the prevalence of blindness in India.

It has set the goal of reducing the prevalence of blindness to 0.3% by the year 2020. As per the NPCB data, cataract continues to be one of the leading causes of blindness in India. Nearly 63% of people are blind due to cataract.  around 20% of people are blind due to refractive error. Another major area of concern is ‘Diabetic Retinopathy’. It is the most well-known ocular complication of diabetes and the leading cause of blindness among people between 20-64 years.

The sublime ethos of helping a vision impaired person to gain eyesight through voluntary eye donation must be inculcated among the young children in the schools. Mass media can play an important role in popularising eye donation.

The vitamins, minerals and other nutrients have been shown to be essential for good vision and may protect eyes from sight-robbing conditions and diseases.

A healthy diet for eyes should include plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables.

Beta-carotene

Eye benefits of beta-carotene: When taken in combination with zinc and vitamins C and E, beta-carotene may reduce the progression of macular degeneration.

Food sources: Carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale, butternut squash.

RDA: None (most supplements contain 5,000 to 25,000 IU).

Bioflavonoids (Flavonoids)

Eye benefits of bioflavonoids: May protect against cataracts and macular degeneration.

Food sources: Tea, red wine, citrus fruits, bilberries, blueberries, cherries, legumes, soy products.

RDA: None.

Lutein and Flavonoid

Eye benefits of lutein and zeaxanthin: May prevent cataracts and macular degeneration.

Food sources: Spinach, kale, turnip greens, collard greens, squash.

RDA: None.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Eye benefits of omega-3 fatty acids: May help prevent macular degeneration (AMD) and dry eyes.

Food sources: Cold-water fish such as salmon, mackerel and herring; fish oil supplements, freshly ground flaxseeds, walnuts.

RDA: None; but for cardiovascular benefits, the American Heart Association recommends approximately 1,000 mg daily.

Selenium

Eye benefits of selenium: When combined with carotenoids and vitamins C and E, may reduce risk of advanced AMD.

Food sources: Seafood (shrimp, crab, salmon, halibut), Brazil nuts, enriched noodles, brown rice.

RDA: 55 mcg for teens and adults (60 mcg for women during pregnancy and 70 mcg when breast-feeding).

Vitamin A

Eye benefits of vitamin A: May protect against night blindness and dry eyes.

Food sources: Beef or chicken liver; eggs, butter, milk.

RDA: 3,000 IU for men; 2,333 IU for women (2,567 IU during pregnancy and 4,333 IU when breast-feeding).

Vitamin C

Eye benefits of vitamin C: May reduce the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration.

Food sources: Sweet peppers (red or green), kale, strawberries, broccoli, oranges, cantaloupe.

RDA: 90 mg for men; 70 mg for women (85 mg during pregnancy and 120 mg when breast-feeding).

Vitamin D

Eye benefits of vitamin D: May reduce the risk of macular degeneration.

Food sources: Salmon, sardines, mackerel, milk; orange juice fortified with vitamin D.

RDA: None, but the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends 400 IU per day for infants, children and adolescents, and many experts recommend higher daily intakes for adults.

The best source of vitamin D is exposure to sunlight. Ultraviolet radiation from the sun stimulates production of vitamin D in human skin, and just a few minutes of exposure to sunlight each day (without sunscreen) will insure your body is producing adequate amounts of vitamin D.

Vitamin E

Eye benefits of vitamin E: When combined with carotenoids and vitamin C, may reduce the risk of advanced AMD.

Food sources: Almonds, sunflower seeds, hazelnuts.

RDA: 15 mg for teens and adults (15 mg for women during pregnancy and 19 mg when breast-feeding).

Zinc

Eye benefits of zinc: Helps vitamin A reduce the risk of night blindness; may play a role in reducing risk of advanced AMD.

Food sources: Oysters, beef, Dungeness crab, turkey (dark meat).

RDA: 11 mg for men; 8 mg for women (11 mg during pregnancy and 12 mg when breast-feeding).  it’s best to obtain nutrients through a healthy diet, including plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables.

FROM AWARD-WINNING AUTHOR DR GOVIND SHUKLA, NUTRITION EXPERT

Govind Shukla, Specializes in Pharmacology, Toxicology, Nutraceuticals & Herbal Drugs has published More than 100 research papers in National & International Journals. He is also a reviewer of International Journal of Pharmacology & pharmacotherapeutics, Chief editor of IJPNR Journal & Freelance Medical Writer for Different publication Groups including Lambert Academic Publishing Saarbrucken, Germany.

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