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Some vision problems are beyond our control and could be genetic or age-related. However, others can be influenced by our lifestyles. One such lifestyle factor to be aware of is diet.
An expert spoke with Express.co.uk about foods and drinks that can have a negative impact on eyesight.
Doctor Rabia Bourkiza, consultant ophthalmic surgeon at OCL Vision, warned against eating specific meats.
He recommended avoiding processed meats such as sausages and bacon.
“Processed meats like sausages and bacon, ready meals, and fried food are all high in salt and saturated fats, which can increase blood pressure and cholesterol levels,” he said.
“These can damage the delicate blood vessels of the eye and cause profound loss of vision.”
Other examples of processed meats include:
- Deli meats such as salami
- Canned meat such as corned beef
- Sliced luncheon meats, including those made from chicken and turkey.
WebMD also advises against processed meats for the sake of your eyes due to their high sodium content.
Too much sodium can then lead to high blood pressure, or hypertension, which it claims can cause: “Hypertensive retinopathy, blood vessel damage that causes blurred vision or vision loss.
“Choroidopathy, a buildup of fluid beneath the retina.
“Neuropathy, a blockage of blood flow that kills nerves and causes vision loss.”
It suggests keeping sodium intake to a minimum as a result.
Other foods that are bad for vision
Dr Bourkiza shared other foods and drinks that can impair vision.
He said: “Avoid sugary food and sugary drinks, as these contribute heavily to the odds of contracting type 2 diabetes, which is probably the biggest diet-related condition threatening eyesight.
“High intake of carbohydrates, such as large amounts of white bread, pasta and white rice can also affect the eyes as they are broken down into sugar, which can cause diabetic eye disease and macular degeneration.”
One study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2007, found that the type of carbohydrate consumed could increase the risk of developing advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
Specifically, high-glycemic-index carbs such as white rice, pasta and bread were to be avoided, while whole wheat versions of rice, pasta and bread did not impact vision.
Corresponding author, Allen Taylor, said: “It is possible that the type of damage produced by poor quality carbohydrates on eye tissue is similar in both diabetic eye disease and AMD.”
Tips for maintaining eye health
Dr Bourkiza added: “Regular exercise and stopping smoking will help to maintain good vascular health of the eye, in addition to cardiovascular health.
“Wearing sunglasses for UV protection and protective eyewear when doing DIY can also help to prevent damage to your eyesight.
“It is essential to maintain good blood sugar levels if you have diabetes and have regular eye checks, particularly if you have a family history of eye disease.”
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