Eyesight, Age, and Nutrition - U of I Extension

News Release

Eyesight, Age, and Nutrition

This article was originally published on May 28, 2008 and expired on October 28, 2008. It is provided here for archival purposes and may contain dated information.

Good eyesight is important to everyone, regardless of their age. However, eyesight problems are more common as we grow older. Poor eyesight can influence nutritional status in a number of ways:

  • food purchasing and selection
  • cooking
  • feeding ourselves
  • food storage.

Reading Food Packages

If reading is difficult, try relying on the pictures on the packages. The graphics will often tell you how many servings, how the food needs to be prepared, and sometimes the proper storage. Unit pricing is usually in large bold letters, but if you can't easily read the price, feel free to ask the store personnel. Remember people do generally like to help others.

Placement of Food on Plate for Blind or Near-Blind Persons

For those who are blind or near-blind, placing the food in a clockwise manner on the plate can help a lot. People can be told the potato is at 2 o'clock, the peas are at 4 o'clock, and the chicken is at 8 o'clock. Knowing where your food is on your plate can greatly increase pleasure in eating and ability to feed yourself!

Do certain foods improve eyesight? We all have heard that carrots make brighter eyes. It is true that carrots contain beta-carotene, and that beta-carotene is broken down into vitamin A. Vitamin A is required for eyesight, especially adaptation to the dark and helping for avoid night-blindness. However, additional beta-carotene or vitamin A will only improve eyesight if the body's reserves have been depleted. It is a good idea to eat a good source of vitamin A every other day. Good sources are apricots, pumpkin, sweet potato, spinach, and carrots.

If your eyesight is getting worse, be sure to talk to your doctor. Changes in eyesight can be due to cataracts or other degenerative changes, but may also indicate high blood sugars in diabetics or high blood pressures in those with hypertension. Be safe, no sorry!

Eat a diet balanced in foods with variety from each food group.

Each day…Try to get…

2 cups Fruits

2 ½ cups Vegetables

6 oz. Grains

3 cups milk

5 1/2 oz Meat /or Protein

Pull date: October 28, 2008