Local News

Help Protect Eyesight With A Lutein-Rich Diet

Posted October 9, 2001 5:47 a.m. EDT

— Vision problems are all too common in today's computer-driven world.

Even if your vision is fine now, experts say that you should do all you can to strengthen and protect your eyes. Your diet can play an important role.


macular degeneration

is a disease of the retina and is the leading cause of irreversible blindness among Americans age 65 and older. Recent studies show that certain nutrients can protect the eyes from macular degeneration and maybe even cataracts.

One of those nutrients is


, a yellow pigment found in certain vegetables, fruits and eggs. Lutein acts as an anti-oxidant, protecting the retina and lens of the eye from the damages caused by too much light.

The best sources of lutein are dark, green leafy vegetables. Spinach, kale, chicory, mustard and collard greens top the list. Celery, broccoli, romaine lettuce, okra, and peas are also good sources. If green is not your thing, squash, pumpkin and cantaloupe are good, too.

Experts suggest you up your daily intake of these foods containing lutein to five to nine servings per day. You may be tempted to try a lutein supplement, but there is not enough scientific evidence to show that the supplements are helpful.