The old tale that carrots improve your eyesight dates back to a British cover story to conceal that their pilots used radar. That falsehood springs from a broader truth that there is a link between dieting and blurred vision. A diet rich in nutrients and low in salt and processed sugars can be part of a comprehensive plan for healthy vision as you age.
Many forms of dieting produce sudden changes in blood sugar levels and levels of other nutrients. The changes can trigger intermittent dizziness, lightheadedness, and blurry vision, especially at the start of the diet.
This article is for informational purposes only. You should not interpret anything in this article as medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
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Diet and Eye Health
The eyes are sensitive organs that depend on a rich supply of oxygen and nutrients to perform correctly. The macula, at the back of the eye, contains many light-sensitive cells and depends on a reliable blood supply.
Trendy Diets and Vision
Many diets, such as the keto diet, intermittent fasting, gluten-free diets, and vegan diets, affect blood sugar levels and the amount and types of nutrients your body receives. The American Optometric Association reviews some popular diets and how they affect vision in this informative article.
Before going on a diet, ask your doctor how it will affect you, particularly if you have diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or any other medical condition that can affect your vision and eye health. Monitor the effects of a new diet and tell your doctor if any new problems arise. If you restrict your food intake while on a diet, don’t forget to hydrate properly.
Cardiovascular Disease and Vision
One benefit of a healthy diet is a healthy cardiovascular system with low cholesterol levels. Without healthy arteries, veins, and capillaries, your eyes cannot receive the oxygen, energy, and nutrients they need.
Too much salt in the diet can raise blood pressure. High blood pressure puts strain on the blood vessels. The blood supply to the eye affects the retina, lens, and eye muscles. Each of these components is vital for clear, focused vision. Diseases and conditions that disrupt that blood supply ultimately affect vision.
Diabetes results from a reduced ability to regulate blood sugar. Increases in blood sugar cause damage to nerves, dry eyes, and an increased risk of cataracts. Diabetes is a prominent risk factor for age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy.
Macular degeneration refers to changes in the part of the eye that handles central vision. Diabetes, high blood pressure, and a diet high in saturated fats can make a person prone to developing macular degeneration, especially after age 50. If someone has macular degeneration and high blood pressure, their blood vessels will leak even more or rupture, potentially causing permanent visual impairment or loss of central vision.
Many modern jobs require employees to spend hours staring at computer screens or doing tasks that require attention to visual details.
Diabetes and other conditions can cause changes to the cardiovascular systems that cause dry eyes. Dehydration can make eye strain worse by depriving the eye of lubrication. It also contributes to headaches, which can exacerbate the effects of eye strain.
Cataracts cause visual impairment by clouding the lens of the eye. They can develop as a result of diabetes and obesity. Other factors, such as exposure to sunlight and UV light, contribute to cataracts, but a healthy diet can counteract these risks.
The lens needs to be flexible and clear for us to see clearly. As we age, the lens becomes rigid and might become discoloured. The American Optometric Association recommends lutein, zeaxanthin, and vitamin C, to lower the risk of cataracts.
Are Your Employees Eating Properly?
If you are a small business owner, you count on your employees to be at their best when they are on the job. One link between dieting and blurred vision is that reducing your food and water makes it harder for the body to cope with stress. Even momentary blurred vision can cause accidents, injuries, property damage, and even liability. Protect yourself and your employees by helping them get health care, vision care and nutritional guidance.
Encouraging An Eye-Healthy Diet
Foods that medical professionals recommend for good eye health include
- foods that help you hydrate naturally, including fruits and vegetables
- foods that are high in beneficial antioxidants
- fish, flaxseed, and other sources of omega-3 fatty acids
- a limited amount of saturated fats and simple sugars
The Importance of Prevention
Eating right is not just about improving vision. A healthy diet prevents disorders from developing and progressing. People who are pre-diabetic, have moderate hypertension, and are in the early stages of macular degeneration might not experience symptoms and thus think that they are in perfect health.
If employees skip health screenings and visits to doctors to save money on health costs, their symptoms could progress to the point where they cause permanent damage, including blurry vision. Some subtle changes to the retina and lens of the eye only show up after a thorough examination.
Create a workplace that incentivizes healthy diets and a proactive approach to health. An employee group insurance plan by one of Canada’s trusted insurance companies can show employees that you are willing to invest in their health and motivate them to confront health issues before they become disabling.
Read Dr. Bosung Kim’s article about the signs of needing eyeglasses and the consequences of neglecting eyecare.
Get Started on Group Health Coverage from Group Enroll
Group Enroll makes it easy for you to set up custom insurance plans for your workers. We partner with many established Canadian insurance companies to provide you with competitive quotes on health and vision dental plans.
Our simple process allows you to get quotes for insurance coverage in just a few days. Reach out to us using our online form or by email at [email protected]. Our physical address is 10 Great Gulf Drive, Unit 5, Vaughan, ON, L4K 0K7. We will do our best to answer your questions about dieting, blurred vision, and any other health concerns your employees have.