by Damon Dierker, OD, FAAO
Can We Eat Our Way to a Healthy Macula? The answer is YES!
You are what you eat — we’ve heard it since we were children. Not surprisingly, what we eat today is simply not as nutritious as a generation or two ago. Industrial farming techniques have caused many of our foods, especially fruits and vegetables, to be deficient in nutrients.1 Simply put, our diet lacks the necessary nutrients for our bodies to fight the constant barrage of inflammation and stress that we encounter on a daily basis.
Macular pigment is comprised of Zeaxanthin and Lutein, which are found in the center of the macula (fovea) at a natural 2:1 ratio. MPOD (Macular Pigment Optical Density) is important for three specific reasons:
- Low macular pigment is a key risk factor for Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of significant vision loss over age 55
- Macular pigment absorbs harmful blue light, protecting the photo-receptors from damage
- Macular pigment improves visual performance, including:
- Visual acuity – ability to see clearly, especially in fine detail situations like needlepoint or reading in low light situations
- Contrast sensitivity – ability to discern objects from their background (i.e. seeing a white golf ball or baseball clearly against a light blue sky)
- Light sensitivity – visual discomfort in sunlight or when exposed to bright light
- Glare recovery – recovery from temporary “blindness” caused by high intensity lighting, such as automobiles or stadium lights