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Nutrition and Eye Care

Nutrition is often overlooked as a means to treat and improve eye conditions and reducing the need for reading glasses.

To keep your perception sharp, you need two key things, lutein and zeaxanthin, which sound like villains but are not. Macular tissue, the clump of photoreceptors on each retina degenerates faster than the rest of the eye, and as it does, you no longer see clearly, so you lose the ability to read and to drive, says Steve Pratt, M.D., author of SuperFoods Rx. There is a big smudge in the center of everything. 

Researchers at Heinrich Heine University in Germany found that lutein and zeaxanthin help filter blue light, which may wreck macular tissue. People with high levels of these two phytonutrients are at lower risk of both macular degeneration and cataracts, Dr. Pratt says. The strength of reading glasses can then be reduced.

Dr. Pratt recommends 12 milligrams (mg) a day of the two nutrients combined, or 1/2 to 3/4 cup of cooked spinach, one of the best sources. Cooking concentrates the greens and their powers.

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