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Your diet is vital to your overall health, including your eyesight. Heart health and normal blood pressure are especially critical to eye health, and changes in your diet can regulate both to protect your vision.

Here are five foods you should avoid if you want to keep your vision sharp:

1. Sugary Drinks

Drinks like soda, energy drinks, sweet tea, and lemonade contain high amounts of sugar. Consuming large amounts of sugar increases your risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease, which can cause diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration (AMD). A single soft drink can contain 37 grams of sugar, so be mindful of how many sodas you consume daily.

2. Fish & Shellfish

Fish and shellfish contain small amounts of mercury. While this is not a significant concern for most people, some are susceptible to developing health problems, including eye damage. This at-risk group includes pregnant women, those who are nursing, and children. The recommended fish intake for these groups is 8-12 ounces a week.

3. Bread Products

Bread products like white bread and pasta contain simple carbohydrates, which are digested faster than other foods. A diet that’s high in simple carbohydrates can cause chronic inflammation, a condition that has been linked to AMD. If you are concerned about bread products in your diet, limit your consumption or try whole-grain alternatives.

4. Prepackaged Foods

Prepackaged food often has high levels of sodium, including:

  • Soups
  • Sauces
  • Canned goods

High amounts of sodium can lead to high blood pressure, which can damage your retina and cause a condition known as hypertensive retinopathy. For less salty alternatives, look for “low sodium” labels on cans at the grocery store.

5. Processed Meat

Like prepackaged foods, you’ll find large amounts of sodium in processed meats, such as:

  • Bacon
  • Deli meats
  • Hot dogs

In addition to hypertensive retinopathy, sodium can cause choroidopathy, which is the buildup of fluid under the retina. It can also cause neuropathy, a blockage of blood flow.

All of these products are fine in moderation, but consider lowering the salt and sugar levels in your diet for optimal eye health. Try to stay within the recommended limits of 2.3 grams of sodium and 36 grams of sugar.

If you have questions about the worst foods for healthy vision or notice a change in your eyesight, schedule a visit with Eyesight Associates.

Our doctors perform comprehensive eye exams to uncover the health of your eyes and vision. We’ll inform you of the state of your eyes and help you choose the best course of action with your health, if necessary. Schedule your exam with us today: 478-923-5872