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Small steps can improve eye healthAdvertising Feature

Dedicated to eye health: Russell & Chalker Optometrist EyecarePlus managing partner Martin Gregory. Picture: Supplied

A healthy diet, active lifestyle and regular eye examinations can provide immediate and long term benefits to eye health.

Regular comprehensive eye exams allow optometrists to detect vision problems or eye disease in the early stages.

A recent report stated a high proportion of people feel they should only see their optometrist if they have obvious problems such as not being able to see objects far away (82 per cent) or up close (81 per cent).

Many others (31 per cent) believe that eating carrots is good enough to improve their eyesight. Whilst carrots are high in antioxidants beta carotene and lutein, which have several beneficial effects on our eye health, there are many other vegetables which contain lutein and zeaxanthin which are better for our eyes. These include corn and leafy greens such as spinach, turnip greens, broccoli and kale which are full of antioxidants.

As well as these vegetables there are a number of other foods which can give our eyes a nutrient boost including fresh fruit, nuts and whole grains which contain vitamin E and omega-3 found in fish which can help reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and slow the progress of cataracts.

Eating nutritious food for eye health can also help slow down or prevent the progression of many other diseases including:

Dry Eye, caused by a chronic lack of moisture and lubrication on the surface of the eye. A diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon, tuna and sardines or flaxseed oil supplements can help to reduce dry eye symptoms.

Retinitis Pigmentosa is a genetic degenerative eye disease that can lead to blindness. A report has shown that people with the disease, over a four to six year period, who stick to a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids experience a slower decline in distance and visual acuities.

Diabetic Retinopathy is an eye disease in people who have diabetes which can cause vision loss and blindness. Exercise, a healthy lifestyle, and diet, not smoking and limiting alcohol consumption can help prevent it. Regular eye check-ups help to detect early symptoms, which may not be obvious.