Regina Leader-Post

New book opens eyes about vision


Maybe you eat food with omega-3 fats for your heart, dairy products for your teeth and bones, and highfibre cereals for your colon. But what about your eyes?

Neal Adams, a Washington ophthalmol­ogist, editor of the journal Eye Reports and former chief of visual physiology of the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, has some suggestion­s. In his new book Healthy Vision: Prevent and Reverse Eye Disease Through Better Nutrition, Adams describes some of the research that demonstrat­es what eyes need to stay healthy.

For example, one study found that five of 20 astronauts on the Internatio­nal Space Station had developed problemati­c “eye conditions” during their tours; they were found to have a genetic variant that limited their absorption of folic acid and vitamin B12, which aid eye function. What did it signify that they were astronauts? Probably nothing — they made good study subjects because they all ate the same diet.

Adams goes on to describe a wide variety of nutrients, what they do for your eyes and where you can get them: Foods that can provide you with more folic acid, for example, include various nuts, spinach and edamame beans; for B12, some options are crab, salmon and mozzarella cheese.

The book is explanator­y and easy to understand, and often makes the unsurprisi­ng point that foods we’ve repeatedly been told are healthful — lots of fruits and vegetables, nuts, meat in moderation, seafood three or four times a week — also support eye health.

In an appendix that he calls “the go-to guide for readers who have been diagnosed with a disease, have noticed that their vision just keeps getting weaker ... or who simply want to avoid developing glaucoma,” he recommends generally similar diets, with interestin­g additions: To help prevent macular degenerati­on and cataracts, watch out for too much vitamin B12, which can increase photosensi­tivity.

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