For Healthy Eyesight: Plenty of Vitamin E and Good Nutrition Can Help Reduce Cataract Risk

WASHINGTON, July 11 -- Want to keep your eyes healthy? Good nutrition, including "plenty of Vitamin E," is on Harvard Medical School's list of what to do to keep your eyes seeing their best.

A Harvard publication, Harvard Women's Health Watch, addresses in its July issue the question of whether eye exercises can eliminate the need for corrective lenses.

The answer to the question: No. The idea of eye exercises has been promoted since early in the 20th century. But until evidence-based research proves otherwise, "it's safe to assume that non-medical self-help eye exercise programs won't keep you out of glasses if you need them and won't change the ultimate course of your nearsightedness, farsightedness ... or astigmatism," the publication said.

"As we age, eye exercises do absolutely nothing for glaucoma or macular degeneration -- serious diseases that require professional help."

What does help, the Harvard Women's Health Watch says, is good nutrition, including "plenty" of Vitamin E, Vitamin C, beta carotene and omega-3 fatty acids.

Other recommendations are for periodic eye examinations by an ophthalmologist, making certain prescription lenses aren't stronger than necessary, wearing ultraviolet-absorbing sunglasses, and taking visual breaks during extended close-up work.

Smoking can increase risk for cataracts and macular degeneration, the publication noted. A healthy diet, including vitamins, can help reduce the risk for cataracts, it said.

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