Over a third of older adults in the U.S. experience significant vision loss, which decreases independence and is a biomarker of decreased health span. As the global aging population is expanding, it is imperative to uncover strategies to increase health span and reduce the economic burden of this age-related disease. While there are some treatments available for age-related vision loss, such as surgical removal of cataracts, many causes of vision loss, such as dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD), remain poorly understood and no treatments are currently available. Therefore, it is necessary to better understand the factors that contribute to disease progression for age-related vision loss and to uncover methods for disease prevention. One such factor is the effect of diet on ocular diseases. There are many reviews regarding micronutrients and their effect on eye health. Here, we discuss the impact of dietary patterns on the incidence and progression of age-related eye diseases, namely AMD, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma. Then, we focus on the specific role of dietary carbohydrates, first by outlining the physiological effects of carbohydrates on the body and then how these changes translate into eye and age-related ocular diseases. Finally, we discuss future directions of nutrition research as it relates to aging and vision loss, with a discussion of caloric restriction, intermittent fasting, drug interventions, and emerging randomized clinical trials. This is a rich field with the capacity to improve life quality for millions of people so they may live with clear vision for longer and avoid the high cost of vision-saving surgeries.
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