Will a vegan diet affect your eye health?

Tina Patel Tina Patel
Tuesday, 30 January 2024 Share this blog: Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Copy link Copy Link

Veganism (abstaining from the consumption or use of animal products) is becoming increasingly popular in Western culture. There are plenty of reasons as to why many are choosing to leave meat consumption in the past, i.e., for health purposes, to protect animals, and to help the environment. However, many are unaware that a vegan diet can also affect eye health – read below to find out more.

What vegan food is good for your eyes?

A vegan diet that mainly consists of fruits and vegetables promotes healthy vision and overall health. Vegan foods that protect eyesight include:

  • Spinach (lutein)
  • Kale (zeaxanthin/lutein)
  • Sweet potatoes (vitamin A)
  • Citrus (vitamin C)
  • Berries (vitamin C)
  • Almonds (vitamin E)

Will carrots help you see in the dark? Yes and no. Whilst carrots won't help you see in complete darkness Whilst carrots won’t help you see in complete darkness, there is some truth behind this myth. Carrots are rich in Vitamin A which is crucial to maintaining good eye health.

How diet affects the health of the eye condition

Your eating habits can affect your eyesight in the long run. After all, you are what you eat. A diet that consists of processed, high-fat foods can lead to eye problems. A poor, unbalanced diet can bring on eye conditions such as:

  • Hypertensive retinopathy – high sodium can lead to damaged blood vessels which can lead to loss of vision
  • Choroidopathy – Too many processed foods such as frozen meals, hotdogs and sauces can cause a build-up of fluid beneath the retina.
  • Glaucoma – a sugary diet can lead to heart disease which can increase the chances of glaucoma occurring.
  • Diabetic retinopathy – this is also linked to a sugary diet which consists of large amounts of fizzy or energy drinks, and juices.
  • Age-related macular degeneration – too much of simple carbs such as bread and pasta could lead to AMD.

Can a plant-based diet reverse eye problems?

Currently, there is no way to restore complete vision loss and a plant-based diet cannot reverse any eye problems. However, a plant-based diet could help to prevent some eye conditions from developing in the beginning.

Leafy greens such as kale and spinach are a great source of lutein, zeaxanthin and zinc. Not only do leafy greens reduce the risk of eye conditions, but they also protect eye tissues from sunlight damage. It is said that consuming at least one serving of kale per month can reduce the risk of glaucoma by 69%.

A study involving over 27,000 participants, found that those who cut back on meat reduced their risk of cataracts by 15%. It also found that those who cut all meat, eggs and dairy had a 40% less chance (than one-a-day meat-eaters) of developing cataracts, the leading cause of blindness.

If you have any questions about how your diet is affecting your eyesight, consult with a medical professional who will be able to offer personalised advice and support.

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