MARQUETTE — When you were a kid you may have heard that eating carrots will help your eye sight, but how true is that, really? ABC 10’s Sarah Mac talks with a local ophthalmologist on what foods are recommended for eye health.

48% percent of Americans think of carrots as the best food for eye health according to a survey from the American Optometric Association.

The Michigan Optometric Association says that, in reality, leafy greens – like kale, collard greens, and spinach – are actually the most nutrient–rich foods for your eyes.

Ophthalmologist for U.P. Eye Specialists Mark W. Ulrickson, D.O. says, “In terms of your eyes There is clear evidence, there is a substance known in green, leafy vegetables called Lutein, which is present in kale and spinach, primarily more so than in lettuce or substances like that, but anyway, that has clear benefit for the health of your retina.”

Dr. Ulrickson says that eating carrots gives your body Vitamin–A, which is needed, but eating more of it will not necessarily generate better eye health. The MOA recommends power foods like leafy greens, fruit, nuts and cold water fish. To maintain healthy eyes it is also recommended to schedule regular checkups with an optometrist or ophthalmologist.

A balanced diet may be a daily commitment, but don’t worry, you won’t have to see your doctor that often. In fact, if you’ve generally had healthy eyes for most of your life, making an annual appointment, once a year, will do the trick.

However if problems with eye health is listed in your family’s medical history, it may be better to visit more than once a year.

Dr. Ulrickson says it’s better to be preemptive than to wait and have any issues get worse.

“If you’re an adult over 50, and you’re having some problem,” Dr. Ulrickson added, “and it’s been there for, you know, more than a week or two it’s probably in your best interest to go and see an eye doctor.”

For more information about U.P. Eye Specialists click here. Below is the list of power foods for eye health courtesy of the Michigan Optometric Association:

  • Power foods: Fruits and vegetables
  • Eye-healthy nutrients: Vitamins A, C and polyphenols
  • Good for the eyes because: The eye’s light-sensitive retina (thin layer of tissue at the back of the eye) requires adequate vitamin A for proper function. Vitamin C supports the health of ocular blood vessels. Scientific evidence suggests vitamin C lowers the risk of developing cataracts, and when taken in combination with other essential nutrients, can slow the progression of AMD and visual acuity loss. Polyphenols are plant-derived substances that reduce inflammation, and are especially high in colorful fruits and vegetables.
  • Power foods: Nuts, fortified cereals and sweet potatoes
  • Eye-healthy nutrients: Vitamin E
  • Good for the eyes because: Vitamin E promotes the health of cell membranes and DNA repair and plays a significant role in the immune system. It has also been shown to slow the progression of AMD and visual acuity loss when combined with other essential nutrients.
  • Power foods: Salmon, tuna, and other cold-water fish
  • Eye-healthy nutrients: Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Good for the eyes because: Omega-3 fatty acids may reduce inflammation, enhance tear production and support the eye’s oily outer layer by increasing oil that flows from the meibomian glands. Research has also shown omega-3 fatty acids can play a role in preventing or easing the discomfort of dry eye.