Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness in the developed world. It happens when the cells in the most sensitive seeing part of the retina are destroyed.”

I recently came across Prof Chris Knobbe’s You Tube lecture ( entitled; Is age related macular degeneration preventable? The revelation embodied in his talk was astounding. Let me explain. Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness in the developed world. It happens when the cells in the most sensitive seeing part of the retina are destroyed. They degenerate. One out of three Americans get it. By 2020, 196 million people world-wide will suffer from AMD. It is a most debilitating visual impairment.

But according to Prof Knobbe, here is the thing, in the year 1900 the incidence was more or less zero. Sir Stewart Duke-Elder published his first book on ophthalmology in 1927 and in 324 pages there was not a single word about AMD. In 1940 he published his second book, which had 13 pages and 17 pictures about AMD. The clever people in eyes, in modern times, have always put the cause of AMD down to age and genetics, without any emphatic proof.

This is what Chris Knobbe says, which is backed up by research: In 1880 they went from stone mills to more advanced milling, which took all the good stuff out and ended up with refined white flour. Refined white flour, along with sugar, vegetable oils and trans fats, changed the developed world’s diet dramatically. His research found that in areas where the diet changed to refined white flour, sugar, vegetable oils and trans fats, the incidence of AMD escalated over time. What has happened is that the developed world has eaten itself sick. It has been shown that populations who have stuck to ancestral diets are in far better shape all-round and have a very low incidence of AMD. Over the past eighty years, as eating habits have moved away from ancestral diets, a disease such as AMD has become prominent. It stands to reason that the four bad ones mentioned above, should be avoided. Based on these studies, the evidence strongly supports the correlation between the change of diet over the past eighty years and the increase in the incidence of AMD.

The best way to improve your eyesight naturally is to give your eyes what they need to be healthy. A steady supply of nutritious foods and vitamins keeps your eyes — and your body in general — at a peak. Smoking is a no-no and any processed food is taboo!

What are the good foods?

Two common vitamins and antioxidants shown to help improve eyesight include:

  • Vitamin A: deficiencies hurt our supply of a pigment called rhodopsin that’s critical for seeing in low light and at night.
  • Lutein: Lutein is a pigment found in high concentrations in a layer of the retina where pigment-packed cells help shield against excess light. Solid scientific research shows that lutein supplementation aids this process in our eyes to naturally improve vision. Lutein is an antioxidant that occurs naturally in fruits and vegetables such as spinach, kale, and Swiss chard.

Food for sight:

Many of the vitamins and antioxidants that improve eyesight are found naturally in common foods, including:

  • Carrots, kale, spinach, and collard greens (vitamin A and lutein)
  • Liver (vitamin A), including cod liver oil
  • Swiss chard, zucchini, and brussels sprouts (lutein)
  • Sweet potatoes and butter (vitamin A)
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