Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk is Dr Nigel Best, an optometrist from Specsavers, who recommends two foods rich in zeaxanthin and lutein, which can help prevent age-related macular degeneration. “Foods like peppers and kiwis have an abundance of health benefits, especially when it comes to eyes,” said Dr Best. “Kiwis are not only rich in antioxidants and have a vast amount of fibre, but they are also full of vitamin C and vitamin E.
“Just like peppers, they include high levels of zeaxanthin and lutein, which help decrease the chance of developing age-related macular degeneration – one of the leading causes of vision loss.”
Dr Best highlighted that three daily servings of kiwi could reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration by 36 percent.
Elaborating on the benefits of peppers, Dr Best said: “A fun fact about peppers is that they give you the most amount of vitamin C per calorie
“And it’s proven that the brighter the pepper, the better it is for you.
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“Eating them raw is healthier too, as cooking them reduces their vitamin C levels.”
Why does vitamin C matter?
“The reason vitamin C is so important is because it helps to form collagen – a protein that contributes to the structure of our eyes,” Dr Best explained.
“Research also suggests that it can also protect us from developing cataracts.”
Age-related macular degeneration
The NHS verified that age-related macular degeneration “does not cause total blindness”.
It can, however, make everyday activities such as reading and recognising faces difficult.
Certain factors have been associated with the onset of age-related macular degeneration, including:
- High blood pressure
- Being overweight
- A family history of age-elated macular degeneration.
This condition can affect either eye, or both eyes, that will impact the middle of your vision.
One of the “first symptoms is often a blurred or distorted area in your vision”.
Other symptoms can include:
- Seeing straight lines as wavy or crooked
- Objects looking smaller than normal
- Colours seeming less bright than they used to
- Seeing things that are not there (hallucinations).
While the condition is not painful, early diagnosis is important to help prevent it from worsening.
An optometrist will use a magnifying glass with a light to look at the back of your eyes and check your vision.
“They may put drops in your eyes to make it easier for them to spot any problems,” the national health service added.
Be aware that adding drops in your eyes can make your vision blurry for a few hours.
If this is the case for you, you will not be able to drive for up to six hours after your appointment.
Depending on the type of age-related macular degeneration (dry or wet), treatments will differ.
For wet age-related macular degeneration, you may need regular eye injections.
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