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Open Your Eyes to Healthy Eating Habits
Date:2/26/2009

Millions of Americans Can Protect Against Eye Diseases by Eating Healthier

ST. LOUIS, Feb. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- In honor of March's Save Your Vision Month, the American Optometric Association (AOA) reminds Americans that caring for eyes includes paying attention to nutrition.

Approximately 43 million Americans suffer from age-related macular degeneration (AMD) or cataracts, the two leading causes of vision loss and blindness. Based on research from multiple studies, there is a strong correlation between good nutrition and the prevention of these age-related eye diseases. By eating foods rich in six nutrients - antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, essential fatty acids, vitamins C and E and the mineral zinc - you can help protect your eye sight and vision.

Research shows that 30 million (or one out of four) Americans age 40 and older suffer from some level of vision loss. According to the AOA's 2008 American Eye-Q(R) survey, which assesses public knowledge and understanding of a wide range of issues related to eye and visual health, only 29 percent of Americans are coping with vision loss or other eye problems by increasing nutrients for healthy eyes.

"Basic and clinical research has shown that nutrients in eye-healthy foods can slow vision loss," said Dr. Stuart Richer, optometrist and AOA's Vision and Nutrition Expert. "Indeed, in some cases, these foods can even improve vision, while providing additional health benefits to the patient."

Healthy Fruits and Vegetables

Together, the AOA and registered dietician Elizabeth Somer recommend eating a diet with a variety of foods loaded with key nutrients for maintaining and improving eye health, such as lutein (LOO-teen) and zeaxanthin.

The American Eye-Q(R) survey showed that nearly half of all Americans (48 percent) still believe carrots are the best food for eye health. While carrots do contain
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SOURCE American Optometric Association
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