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Eating for Your Eyes

Mom was right when she told you carrots are good for your eyesight.

But carrots aren't the only food that can protect your eyes. CBS News medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton discussed on "The Early Show" some other foods for your eyes that might surprise you.

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But what about makes foods good for your vision?

Ashton said antioxidants known as carotenoids represent one of the most widespread groups of naturally occurring pigments that can help your eyes. And among cartenoids, the most beneficial for eye health is lutein and zeaxanthin, Ashton said.

You can get your daily dose of both, Ashton said, from the best source: leafy greens. Ashton said greens, such as spinach, kale, peas, zucchini and broccoli are the richest food. Yellow pigmented fruits and vegetables, such as orange peppers, corn, oranges and honeydew melon, Ashton said, are also great sources of these eye-protecting carotenoids.

Aside from fruits and vegetables, Ashton said egg yolks are also high in lutein and zeaxanthin, which help protect the retina and filter the eye-damaging components of sunlight, according to the Journal of Food Science.

Ashton said, "The thinking is that our eyes age just like other parts of our body, and things like these substances can really make a big difference in preventing things like macular degeneration and cataracts."

While experts know lutein and zeaxanthin are important to eye health, there are still questions about the best way to get them. Ashton said supplements may not have the same effect as naturally-occurring nutrients in fruits and vegetables. Also, there are no precise guidelines for how much lutein is needed for prevention of cataracts and macular degeneration.

Ashton added, "It's probably best to eat a lot of colorful fruits and vegetables."

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