For your eyes only
Two new books by eye doctors show what food and supplements help the eyes. Lea Wee reports
You can eat your way to better sight and two new books by eye surgeons promise to show how.
Singaporean eye surgeons Jerry Tan and Por Yong Ming and Malaysian eye surgeon Kenneth Fong have combed through the research to nail down exactly which nutrients and supplements are good for the eyes.
Both books came about because the doctors had come across many patients who wanted to know what they could eat to help or prevent a particular eye condition.
Said Dr Tan, 55. who cowrote Nutrition And The Eye: Eating Your Way To Better Sight with Dr Por, 41: "There have been many truths and half-truths about the effects of certain nutrients and supplements for the eye. By writing the book using evidencebased medicine. we hope it will bene?t anyone seeking reliable information on this topic."
To keep the eyes healthy, both books recommend a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acid, antioxidants such as vitamins A, C and E and yellowislwrange pigments called lutein and zeaxanthin, which are found in wolfberries (gouqizi), for instance.
In Dr Tan and Dr Por's 146-page book, which was released last November, the information is neatly packaged into different chapters. with each focusing on the nutrients that are bene?cial to a particular part of the eye, from the outermost tear film to the innermost optic nerve.
The book also contains a chapter written in English by traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) practitioner Tang Yue on the approach taken by TCM to eye care.
It includes a simple acupressure routine for better eye health, as well as a pictorial glossary of Chinese herbs, including their names in Chinese, which are important to the eye.
Dr Tan said: "We are Asians and not everything that comes from the West is the best."
For instance, he said. the Chinese have known for thousands of years that woltberries are good for the eyes.
lt was only recently that Westem medicine caught up by discovering how wolfberries are rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, which may be helpful to recipes, with more than 50 created by Dr Fong's wife, dietitian Goo Chui Hoong, 37.
Said Dr Fong, 38, who runs a practice in Petaling Jaya and was in Singapore to launch the book last September: "The idea for the book has been with me for a number of years. I often ask my wife what diet would be suitable for my patients.
"I was convinced that diet played an important role in eye health as the retina, in particular, needs a lot of antioxidants to keep it going."
The retina is the light sensitive layer of tissue at the back of the eyeball.
The book has been nominated for an award in the Health Book category of the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards, to be held on Feb'23 in Paris.
It was largely written with his AMD patients in mind, said Dr Fong, who launched his book in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in September last year.
The recipes use ingredients chockful of nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acid and antioxidants such as lutein and zeaxanthin.
There is strong scienti?c evidence to show that a diet rich in these nutrients can slow down the progression of AMD, he said.
The recipes also cater to the Asian palate, with the nutrients prepared in a variety of ways from stir frying, to smoking and steaming (see Page 8 for two recipes from the book).
They range from the spicy assam pedas fish to savoury tea-smoked salmon and chicken essence with wolfberries. The last two are among the couple's personal favourites.
Dr Fong said: "As far as we know, there has been no such book written with the Asian palate in mind."
The authors' aim is to present a range of easy-touse recipes that people can use in their everyday diet to benefit their eyes, he said.
Proceeds from both books will go to charities.
Nutrition And The Eye is selling at $26.
Nett sales of the book will go to the Singapore Association of the Visually Handicapped. The authors hope to raise $100,000.
It is available from the association, Jerry Tan Eye Surgery.
Pharmaplus and Eu Yan Sang Premier TCM Centre at Paragon. Braille and audiobook versions will be released later.
Food For Your Eyes is selling at - $26.75.
It is available at major book stores such as Times, Popular and Kinokuniya.
All royalties from the book will be donated to the National Council for the Blind, Malaysia.
Source: Straits Times© Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.