Health Alert: Eye on food

NATIONAL (NBC) - More and more research shows that certain vitamins can protect our vision.

It took an eye-opening experience for Randi Kramarz and her entire family to begin eating healthy. "When my eyes started deteriorating is when all of a sudden you know that's when it really became important."

Barry Kay, O.D., says, "More and more evidence is showing how nutrition can be preventative for eye problems."

A routine eye exam discovered early signs of macular degeneration. It's a leading cause of blindness and can run in families.

Randi's grandmother had it. Kramarz says, "I'm just concerned for myself and my children knowing that we are more susceptible to it to try to do what I can to help prevent it."

Her doctor's prescription: start piling your plate with foods rich in antioxidants.

Dr. Kay says, "It's the old story - eat five servings of fruits and vegetables a day, you pretty much covered your bases."

Dark green leafy vegetables are vital. "Which are like your kale and your spinach particularly high in lutein and zeaxanthin, and that is our new favorite nutrient, because that seems to be the only one that's found naturally in the human lens and the retina," says Dr. Kay.

Don't forget zinc and copper found in lean beef, nuts and beans.

If you can't get enough nutrients through food, take a vitamin supplement. Don't smoke. And wear protective sunglasses outside.

Kramarz says, "I think that everything is in small steps, but I think that we're headed into the right direction."

Posted by Chantelle Janelle