Sunshine on your face, sandals and short sleeves. What month is it? Well, it’s national Healthy Vision Month of course.

Some people associate May with the beginning of summer, graduations or Mother’s Day, but at Liberty Laser Eye Center we think of protecting and improving people’s eyesight. It’s certainly our priority year round at our eye surgery center. However, during Healthy Vision Month the Centers of Disease Control’s Vision Health Initiative partners with the National Eye Institute to encourage all Americans to make vision a health priority for everybody – and so do we.

Take the time to schedule a check-up with you eye doctor, ask around if eye illnesses run in your family (if you need surgery or treatment, we can help), wear protective eye gear during sports or while working on home improvement projects, and certainly put on your shades while enjoying the sun.

There are a few preventative measures you can take to ensure healthy eyes, including nutrition. And since May is also a month that is great to start a garden, here are some healthy foods you can grow this season. Your eyes will thank you later.

An eye on Avocado

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Avocado is the ultimate summer food. Mash it up in yummy guacamole or slice a ripe Avocado on top of a burger or salad for some healthy fats and vision-promoting vitamin E.

Carrots & Co

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We all heard it from our mothers: Eat your carrots. They are good for your eyes. And mom was right. Foods with beta-carotene are having not one but two benefits. Once you ingest beta-carotene, your body converts it into vitamin A, which helps not only with eye health, but also supports a strong immune system and glowing skin. Fresh carrots are a great source of beta-carotene (almost 5,000g of vitamin A in an average carrot), but sweet potatoes and pumpkins also contain a healthy dose.  These tubers are tasty in mashes or baked in the oven as healthier, better-for-you fries. Added bonus: They are easy to grow.

Think Green

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Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that protects the cells in your eyes from damage – preventing or slowing age-related cataracts, glaucoma or macular degeneration. Bell peppers, broccoli and Brussels sprouts contain loads of vitamin C which not only helps your immune system, but your vision too. About a half cup of these vegetables tossed into your salad or served as a side dish do the trick.

Popeye knows best

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Spinach is the most super among the superfoods.  This leafy green is full of beta-carotene, vitamin C, anti-oxidants, and lutein – all of which support healthy vision. Lutein helps keep the eyes safe from oxidative stress, acting almost like a sunscreen by absorbing the blue-light intensity. Trendy Kale is another powerhouse leafy green.

Very berry

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Anthocyanin-rich berries such as blueberries, grapes, and goji berries have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that help protect your vision.

Prevent dry eye with Nuts

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OK, OK… unless you already have a nut tree in the backyard this may be a long-term gardening project. But the harvest will be a feast for your eyes – literally. Nuts are great eye-healthy choices, due to the high levels of vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids, which can help prevent dry eyes.

Tasty protectors

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Foods such as onions, garlic and shallots are rich in lecithin, sulfur and cysteine, and can help protect your eye from cataract formation.

There are some surprising super foods among these fruits and vegetables. Our eyes require multiple nutrients to function optimally, but it’s a combination of preventative care and protecting your precious eyesight that will keep your peepers strong.  

Source: Health.com, WebMD, National Eye Institute

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