Like most aspects of your overall health, your eye health can be greatly influenced by what you eat. While you have probably heard that carrots are a super food for your eyes, there are several other foods that contain nutrients that are essential for maintaining healthy vision. Here are three foods that can help keep your eyes in good health.

Leafy Greens

Spinach, kale, and collard greens all contain lutein and zeaxanthin, two compounds that are found naturally in the macula of the human eye. The macula is center and most sensitive part of the retina, the layer on the back of the inside of your eye that contains rod and cone cells that process visual stimuli.

Eating a diet rich in lutein and zeaxanthin helps to protect the cells in the eye from degeneration by blocking a greater amount of high-energy blue light. As blue light reaches the underlying structures of the retina, reactive molecules known as free radicals are released. Over time, these free radicals will cause damage to the cells in the eye through a process known as oxidative stress. This will eventually lead to macular degeneration, or central vision blindess. Supplying your body with lutein and zeaxanthin from your diet will protect against macular degeneration by reducing the rate at which oxidative stress occurs.

Foods High in Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Fish, fish oil supplements, and fortified foods such as eggs and peanut butter contain high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. According to a study by the National Eye Institute, omega-3 fatty acids could be effective at preventing retinopathy. Retinopathy is damage to the retinas that is often caused by abnormal growth of blood vessels in the retinas, commonly resulting from health conditions such as diabetes or hypertension. Omega-3 fatty acids can protect your vision by preventing the abnormal growth of blood vessels that could lead to retinopathy.

Citrus Fruits and Juices

Citrus fruits and juices are one of the best dietary sources for vitamin C. While vitamin C is perhaps best known as an immune-boosting nutrient, it is also very beneficial for your eyes. Rather than blocking out high-energy light that causes macular degeneration, vitamin C is an antioxidant that increases the ability of your cells to detoxify free radicals.

All free radicals contain an oxygen molecule with an unpaired electron. This unpaired electron, also known as a valence electron, is responsible for their high reactivity with cells. Vitamin C protects your eyes from free radical damage by chemically bonding with the unpaired electrons in free radicals, turning them into non-reactive molecules that the body can process safely.

By including as many eye-healthy foods in your diet as possible, you can maximize your chances of maintaining good vision for years to come. Contact an optometrist for more tips on how to keep your eyes healthy.