Did you know pumpkins can be GOOD for your retina?

Pumpkins, along with many other fruits and vegetables, are high in vitamin C and zinc!

Our bodies are unable to make vitamin C ourselves so we need to get it from other sources. Vitamin C is known to support the blood vessels in the retina, or the back of the eye. Both zinc and vitamin C have been found to slow age-related macular degeneration!

Macular degeneration, AMD, is a progressive disease that destroys sharp central vision due to the deterioration of the macula. The macula is a tiny spot in the retina made up of millions of light sensing cells. There are two forms of this degeneration, wet AMD and dry AMD. Dry AMD is more common and cannot be treated whereas wet AMD is less common but can be treated with lasers. Supplements found in fruits and vegetables, like pumpkins, can help reduce the affects and progression of AMD.

AMD is most common in people under stress, smokers, diabetics, and older adults. Protection from sunlight, quitting smoking, and eating a balanced diet, especially composed of foods with vitamin C and zinc, can help reduce the risk of macular degeneration.

A study from the National Eye Institute showed that “people that took 500 mg/day of vitamin C, vitamin E, and zinc supplements slowed that progression of AMD by 25%.” This study also showed that these supplements slowed visual acuity loss by 19%!

Dr. Notaro is an ophthalmologist with specialty training in diseases and surgery of the retina. She has served the WNY community for nearly 20 years. She was the first to bring the retina specialty to Niagara County. She has two convenient offices: one in Amherst and the other in North Tonawanda/Wheatfield. No referral is needed. Simply call (716) 839-9009 to schedule an evaluation in either location!

Learn more about Vitamin C and the retina from America Optometric Association

References
“Vitamin C.” American Optometric Association, www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/caring-for-your-vision/diet-and-nutrition/vitamin-c

“Age Related Macular Degeneration” Age-Related Macular Degeneration – National Eye Institute. nei.nih.gov/sites/default/files/health-pdfs/WYSK_AMD_English_Sept2015_PRINT.pdf.