human eye

The Link Between Eye Health and Your Diet

Low carbohydrate and low glycemic index diets have been around for decades. 

No longer considered a passing fad, millions or people around the world have changed their eating habits in order to maintain a healthy body weight.

Now, researchers have found that eating this way doesn’t just have benefits for your waistline, but that it may also reduce your risk of developing age-related vision problems. 


The diets
Low carbohydrate and a low glycemic index (GI) diets aren’t interchangeable. The former restricts the intake of all carbohydrates, which is the macronutrient that provides fuel and energy to your body. The latter controls the quality of carbohydrates consumed.

Foods with a high GI rating (70 and above) are rich in simple carbohydrates. These are digested more quickly and cause blood sugar levels to spike. Complex carbohydrates, which are generally allowed on a low GI diet, are digested more slowly and don’t raise blood sugars level as much.

The link to eye health
An American study found that age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and vision loss may be connected to the quality of carbohydrates one consumes. This supports earlier studies linking high GI foods to the risk of AMD.

Researchers analyzed the dietary history of more than 4,000 participants aged 55 to 80 with varying degrees of AMD. While the study wasn’t primarily concerned with carbohydrate intake, it showed that 20 per cent of cases of advanced AMD could have been prevented if individuals ate a diet with lower GI levels than the average for their age and gender.

Eating for eye health
Besides forgoing simple carbohydrates in favour of complex carbohydrates, there are other changes you can make to your diet in order to optimize your eye health.

• Eat dark, leafy greens like kale, spinach and broccoli as well as brightly coloured fruits and vegetables. These are full of antioxidants, which reduce damage to your eyes related to oxidizing agents.

• Choose foods filled with healthy fats, like those found in fish, nuts and avocado. These can prevent dry eyes and possibly cataracts.

• Opt for lean protein like chicken, fish and legumes. Saturated fats in red meat and other sources may increase your risk of AMD.

• Avoid eating high levels of sodium, which may increase your risk of forming cataracts.

Optometrists in and around Edmonton

While maintaining a healthy diet is important for eye health, it’s no substitute for regular general eye exams and ocular health exams from your optometrist. The team at Optometrists’ Clinic Inc. are passionate about the eye health of their patients. Contact the location closest to you to make an appointment today.

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