Americans are spending a lot of time staring at screens — a smartphone screen, a tablet screen, a television screen, and mainly, a computer screen. According to Forbes magazine, teenagers are among the worst at these habits, spending a whopping 9 hours a day in front of one of those screens.
That’s why there’s no better time to focus on supporting healthy vision. All that reading and viewing, even if it includes small print in books, newspapers, paperwork, and instructions, can cause stress on the eyes.
It may seem different to think about “eye nutrition” — eating for the benefit of your vision. But it’s a real thing. According to the Mayo Clinic, the National Eye Institute and other vision experts believe that eating a healthy diet contributes to having healthy eyes. And of course, the Mayo Clinic’s list of foods for better eye health includes the carrots that experts have been telling people to eat to support healthy vision.
Along with carrots spinach, broccoli, and other vegetables, carotenoids — powerful antioxidants —have been shown to encourage eye health by helping to fight free radicals in the body, which are unstable cells that can cause the deterioration of healthy cells. But how can people be sure they’re including all of these antioxidants in their diets?
Taking lutein, a carotenoid found in vegetables, egg yolks, and corn, is available in many food sources. However, it is not produced naturally in the body. It can be added as a dietary supplement to encourage healthy eyes. According to the American Optometric Association, a recent study shows that an increase of lutein in a person’s diet was associated with decreasing the risk of cataract formation.
It is estimated that the average American gets less than 2 milligrams of lutein from food sources in their diet. The American Optometric Association says most recent studies show that taking 10 milligrams of lutein a day is optimal in supporting eye health. It would take 2 cups of spinach to reach 6 milligrams.
So even if a person eats a healthy balanced diet every day, adding a supplement of lutein may help their vision health.