A Feast for the Eyes

Healthier eyesight through smarter eating is proven research

December 14, 2016

The Retina Foundation of the Southwest has teamed with a renowned Texas chef to create a robust five-course meal aimed at keeping eyesight healthy through smarter eating.

Dr. Karl Csaky, Managing and Medical Director of the Retina Foundation of the Southwest and the Clinical Center of Innovation for Age-Related Macular Degeneration, and Chef Larry Matson, Academic Director for Culinary at the Art Institute of Dallas, have created delicious dishes that feed nutrients directly to the eyes using ingredients suggested to be the best defense against age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the world’s leading cause of irreversible vision loss for people over 50.

AMD typically strikes adults in their fifties or sixties, and progresses painlessly, gradually destroying the central vision. By 2020, the number of people who are legally blind in both eyes is expected to rise 41%.

“A smart dietary lifestyle that anyone can adopt helps prevent the irreversible disease of age-related macular degeneration from taking hold or, at a minimum, slows progression,” Dr. Csaky said. A former Fulbright Scholar, Dr. Csaky is one of the few clinician scientists in the country who both treats patients with AMD and performs clinical and laboratory research on the disease.

“Mediterranean diets, including fish, fruit, nuts, and dark, leafy greens, contain the minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants that keep eyesight sharp and resistive to the onset of AMD,” said Dr. Csaky, citing recent studies.

Established in 1975, the Retina Foundation of the Southwest is the nation’s leading eye research center whose mission is to prevent vision loss and restore sight through innovative research and treatment.

Age-related macular degeneration continues to be the number one cause of severe visual impairment and irreversible vision loss among senior citizens in the United States. According to the Clinical Center of Innovation for AMD, about 18 million Americans, including 80% of people over the age of 80, have AMD. Due to the rapid aging of the U.S. population, this number is expected to increase significantly by the year 2050.

AMD is a disease of the retina that causes the eye’s macula to gradually deteriorate—a significant national health problem requiring urgent attention. The macula is a small, centralized area of the retina which gives us our pinpoint vision. The macula allows us to see fine details and participate in daily activities such as driving, reading, and recognizing faces. As AMD progresses, the macula breaks down and the central vision decreases.

An improved diet, such as the Mediterranean diet, is a suggested way to strengthen eyesight and prevent disease. The Retina Foundation of the Southwest and the culinary program at the Art Institute of Dallas have released recipes for a robust five-course meal just in time for the holidays—a feast anchored by the fourth course entrée, honey garlic glazed salmon with lemon orzo, followed by the fifth course dessert, fruit cordonnier with almond crust and orange ice cream.

The Mediterranean diet includes fish, fruit, nuts, and dark, leafy greens that contain the minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants we need to maintain our eyes and resist the onset of AMD. Other foods known to improve vision are:

Almonds
Avocado
Blueberries
Broccoli
Cantaloupe
Carrots
Collard greens
Crab
Grapefruit
Kale
Lamb
Mackerel
Mangoes
Oranges
Papaya
Peaches
Peanuts
Pumpkin
Salmon
Sardines
Soy milk
Spinach green peas
Sunflower seeds
Sweet potatoes
Swiss chard
Tangerines
Tomatoes
Trout
Wheat germ
Whole wheat flour

Click here to see and enjoy the Eye-Friendly, Five Course Dinner Menu.