Have you always wondered if your diet is related to your eye health, getting dry eyes, cataract, macular degeneration?  Now there is an answer!

No effective drug therapy currently exists to prevent cataracts from forming. However we do know that cigarette smoking, certain medications, eye injuries, sunlight, diabetes and obesity can increase the risk of cataracts. Now scientists are wondering if eating less meat might lower cataract risk.  And findings from the United Kingdom suggest that the answer may be yes — but it’s too soon to tell for sure.

Researchers analyzed information on diet and lifestyle provided between 1993 and 1999 by 27,600 adults age 40 and over. The participants’ medical records between 2008 and 2009 were reviewed and revealed that 1,484 people had developed cataracts since the start of the study. The research was reported in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Volume 93, page 1128).

Vegans were 40 percent less likely to develop a cataract than the heaviest meat eaters (people who consumed more than 3.5 oz. of meat per day), and vegetarians were 30 percent less likely. Fish eaters fared pretty well, too: their risk was 21 percent lower than that of the heaviest meat eaters.

These findings don’t prove that eating less meat can reduce the risk of cataracts — and other researchers have reached different conclusions. Confirmation of the results would need to come from a large, randomized, controlled trial.

By the same token, dry eyes are partly due to poor blood circulation, and macular degeneration (AMD) is believed to be caused by high lipids from cholesterol.  Therefore, reduce meat consumption will help prevent them also.

In the meantime, it has been proved that a diet that emphasizes vegetables over meat is heart healthy. If you eat a lot of meat and decide to reduce your consumption of it, you’re definitely helping your heart, and you could be helping your eyes, as well.

Reprinted with permission from the Theralife blog.