Macular degeneration is the most common cause of eyesight deterioration as we age. It is characterised by damage to the part of the retina (the 'seeing' part of the eye) responsible for the most detailed sight (the macula).
Scientists have theorised that the processes which cause macular degeneration involve damaging destructive molecules known as free radicals. Evidence has suggested that a high intake of free-radical quenching nutrients known as antioxidants - found most abundantly in fruit and vegetables - may help to protect against macular degeneration. In a recent study published in the Annals of Ophthalmology, researchers assessed the relationship between diet and risk of macular degeneration in men and women.
The results showed that, compared to those eating fewer than 1.5 servings of fruit a day, those consuming three or more servings of fruit each day had a 36 per cent reduced risk of developing macular degeneration. This study suggests that ensuring we eat plenty of fruit may help to preserve our visual abilities as we age.