By Real Simple
Updated May 21, 2007
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Credit: Laurie Frankel

What aging can bring: Dryness, presbyopia, cataracts, macular degeneration, glaucoma.

What the research shows: Although presbyopia (trouble reading things up close) almost inevitably sets in around age 40, eventually necessitating reading glasses, good nutrition may help with other age-related eye issues. “People who consume high levels of antioxidants, like lutein and zeaxanthin, have a reduced risk of macular degeneration (a disorder that leads to gradual vision loss),” says Emily Chew, deputy director of the division of epidemiology and clinical research at the National Eye Institute, in Bethesda, Maryland. (Smoking, however, increases your risk.) And omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids help “open up the glands around the eyes, so patients with dry eyes make more, better-quality tears,” says Michael Goldstein, an ophthalmologist in Boston.

What you can do: See an eye doctor regularly to catch early signs of trouble. Eat plenty of leafy greens and consider taking a fish-oil supplement. Protecting your eyes from sun exposure can help reduce your risk of cataracts.