Nutrition and eye health

An Ageing Population

The population is changing, in 2016 37.2% of the population was over 45 years.[1] By 2050, over 45s will make up 46.7% of the population.[11]

Eye Health in Ireland​

  • As the Irish population ages, the impact of vision loss will grow substantially in the future.[2]
  • 75% to 80% of blindness is preventable.[2]
  • Age Related Macular Degeneration is the leading cause of severe visual loss in patients over 60 years of age.[3]
  • In Ireland, 100,000 Over 50s have AMD, with over 7,000 new cases of AMD diagnosed every year.[4]
  • In 2012, there were 12,000 Cataract Surgeries in public hospitals alone. By the age of 75, 25% of people will have developed a cataract [3]
  • The likelihood of developing Glaucoma increases as we age, affecting 3% of people over 70.[3]

How we age is becoming more important...

  • Smoking multiplies your risk of AMD by 2-4 times
  • Obesity is linked with higher intraocular pressure (IOP)
  • Being physically inactive is associated with late AMD
  • Family history of AMD increases risk of AMD
  • Excessive sunlight is associated with AMD
  • UV light is a risk factor for the development of cataracts
  • Diets high in carbohydrates may increase risk of cataracts

Feed your eyes

    What does a healthy diet for your eyes look like?

    • 5 to 9 servings of fruits and vegetables every day
    • 3+ servings of 100 percent whole grains each day
    • 2 servings of fish each week

Make simple recommendations

Make simple recommendations

  • Don’t smoke
  • Use sunglasses
  • Exercise
  • Eat well
    • Increase your antioxidant intake
    • Include colourful fruit and vegetables
    • This will increase your carotenoids intake

But it is a challenge to eat the nutrients you need...

Each image represents the daily dietary intake required to obtain the recommended levels of Lutein (10mg) and Zeaxanthin (2mg) to support macular health.

The modern diet needs to be supplemented to meet the eyes’ nutritional requirements.

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  1. Population Pyramid (2019) Online
  2. NCBI (2019)Facts About Sight Loss. Online
  3. Clinical Strategy & Programmes (2017) Model for Eye Care
  4. AMD (2019) What is Age Related Macular Degeneration Online
  5. Pintea, A., et al. (2011) J Ocul Pharmacol Ther. 27 (4): 315-21
  6. Liu, R., et al. (2014) I.O.V.S. 56(1):252-8.
  7. Merle, B., et al. (2011) I.O.V.S. 52 (8): 6004-11.
  8. Mares, J. (2015) J.A.M.A. 313(10): 1048-49.
  9. Kokkea, K.H., et al. (2008) Contact Lens & Ant Eye. 31(3):141-6.
  10. Cashman K et al. British Journal of Nutrition (2013), 109, 1248-1256
  11. CSO(2018)
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