When you think of foods to improve eyesight, you think carrots, right? Well, you wouldn’t be wrong! After all, “rabbit food” is rich in vitamin A—a nutrient essential for good vision—but it isn’t the be-all, end-all edible for improving one’s eyesight. So as your child heads off to school this fall, why not pack a meal or snack that includes some of these other pro-vision eats:
Vision-Friendly Food One: Eggs
The most important meal of the day is breakfast, and the most important breakfast (from an eye-health perspective) is eggs. The zinc in an egg will help your body use the carotenoids from its yolk and boost the protective pigment in the macula—the part of your eye that controls central vision.
Vision-Friendly Food Two: Fish
The omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA are essential to good retina health and function. Luckily, fatty fish, like salmon, tuna, trout and other seafood, is rich in both. Omega-3s also protect eyes from glaucoma, and there is even evidence that low levels of these fatty acids can lead to dry eyes. So, tuna fish sandwiches, here we come!
Vision-Friendly Food Three: Dark, leafy greens
Kale, spinach and collard greens are rich in vitamins C and E, as well as the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin. This lowers your risk for long-term eye diseases. Most people eating Western diets don’t get enough of the green stuff, so try sneaking it into a sandwich now and then; your child’s eyes will thank you.
Vision-Friendly Food Four: Orange-colored fruits and vegetables
Sweet potatoes, mangos, apricots and carrots (of course) are high in beta-carotene—a form of vitamin A that helps with your eye’s ability to adjust to darkness, aka night vision. Many orange-colored fruits and vegetables are also a good source of vitamin C (especially sweet potatoes), which helps the body form and maintain connective eye tissue.
Vision-Friendly Food Five: Sunflower seeds and nuts
Barring any allergies, certain seeds and nuts are a great way to improve and preserve your vision. In fact, just one ounce of sunflower seeds or almonds has half the amount of vitamin E the USDA recommends for adults each day! Vitamin E, combined with other nutrients, can slow age-related macular degeneration (AMD) from getting worse. I know we’re talking about children here, but getting into an eye-conscious diet early on is important. Besides, who doesn’t love sunflower seeds?
Now that you know what types of foods to stock up on to help support your child’s healthy vision, you might want to schedule an eye exam to boot. A vision screening by an eye doctor can help identify any vision problems and help treat those eye problems if needed. If you haven’t already scheduled an eye exam this year, we encourage you to set one up today.
This article originally appeared on Individual Vision Plans.