The American Optometric Association (AOA) has added a new functionality to its website which is designed to allow visitors to asses whether their diet is putting them at risk of eye problems such as cataracts.
The Eye on Nutrition pages on the AOA website focus on the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin which are found in foods such as corn and spinach and which thought to help combat the risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD), two leading causes of visual loss and blindness.
The AOA cited a number of studies which suggested that six nutrients in particular are correlated with maintaining eye health - the antioxidant vitamins C and E, the carotenoids lutein, zeaxanthin and beta-carotene and the mineral zinc. The Eye on Nutrition tool is designed to help people assess their current nutrient status and identify what they need to do to ensure the diet they eat is eye-healthy.
"In recent years, the scientific community has made great strides in the area of nutrition and eye health. We thought now was the opportune time to educate patients and optometrists alike about the research that has been done in this field," said Dr Pat Cummings, AOA president.
Eye on Nutrition is divided into three parts. The first section asks specific eye health history questions as well as about certain behaviour that affect eye health, such as smoking. In the second part, the user is asked whether they eat certain foods, how much and how often, and once this is completed the user is offered an evaluation of their eye health history and a diet analysis. Lastly, the user receives personalised tips on how they can improve their behaviour and diet to help protect their eyes from developing cataracts and AMD.
Eye on Nutrition was developed in conjunction with the Vitamin Nutrition Information Service (VNIS), founded by Roche Vitamins as a source of accurate and credible vitamin information for health professionals, educators and communicators.