Culinistas's Kitchen,  Health

A Sight for Sore Eyes

by The Culinistas

(as part of our Wellness Through Food: Hindsight is 20/20 vision series)

Dr. Jennifer Tsai is a Manhattan-based optometrist who specializes in eye health and vision care. She is also the pioneer behind Line of Sight, where patients have access to everything from comprehensive eye exams to ocular aesthetics (think treating eyelid pigmentation or droopy lids) to lid hygiene & deep cleansing (yes, it’s a thing!). She’s your go-to for all things ocular.

We sat down with Dr. Tsai to talk all things eye health, the importance of sunglasses (aside from being a fashion statement, of course), and what she has her eye on for 2021.

The Culinistas: Why do you think vision health can get, ahem, overlooked? 

Dr. Jennifer Tsai: Who else has been staring at computer screens more often lately? Our daily tasks these days fall within a short range of distance from 16 inches at our computer to 10 feet. We often don’t realize that our vision has changed drastically over that range of distance. It’s important to have yearly eye examinations for this reason! 

TC: What’s one easy step anyone can take to protect their eyes?

JT: Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from UV damage, even on overcast days! Sunlight exposure can accelerate oxidative stress and damage to our eyes from eyelid melanoma, to cataracts, and even macular degeneration. 

TC: What’s the biggest impact of vision care on vision health?

JT: The biggest impact is improvement in your daily lifestyle. We use our eyes from when we first wake to when we sleep. We rely on them for mostly everything! Improving vision and eye health makes our lives better and more comfortable overall. 

TC: What is the biggest myth about eyes/vision health?

JT: Wearing glasses does not make your eyes weaker! Our vision improves when we wear glasses, which is why we feel like we rely on them a bit more. 

TC: What is the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen?

JT: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. However, I get to see it every day! I believe the iris (the colored portion of the eye) is beautiful. 

TC: Do you believe in love at first sight?

JT: Eye do! 

(*Editor’s note: A woman after our own heart with that pun!)

TC: What’s one thing you’ve always had your eye on, but never tried?

JT: I’ve never tried surfing! It is something I would love to do if given the chance to learn. 

TC: Looking back, what helped you through 2020?

JT: My community, both on social and at my practice. It was a stressful year. I opened my cold-start (optometry speak for brand-new) eyecare wellness studio, Line of Sight, during the pandemic. However, I am grateful for all the support from our clients, friends, and local small business owners! 

TC: What big changes are you eyeing for 2021?

JT: I am looking forward to deeper connections and conversations with those around me. Spending less time online and more time in person. Line of Sight is hoping to launch a fun event in the Hamptons this summer, so please be on the lookout! 

We asked Dr. Tsai to select six of her favorite dishes from our Hindsight is 20/20 menu:

Ginger Chicken & Broccoli Soup

chicken, garbanzo, ginger, broccoli, celery, lemon, allspice, za’atar, cumin, cayenne, onion powder

Lutein and Zeaxanthin are strongly recommended for macular and retinal health! It helps prevent oxidative damage and keeps our vision clear.

Muhammara Dip with Pita & Crudites

bell pepper, walnut, pita, pomegranate molasses, garlic, carrot, cayenne, onion powder

Walnuts are a rich source for Omega-3 fatty acids. This helps with issues like dry eyes and chronic eye inflammation. 

Brussels Sprout Caesar 

brussels sprout, anchovy, garlic, parmesan, lemon, onion powder, cayenne

A simple and tasty dish to make that is also beneficial for you! Vitamin C is a great source of antioxidants, which helps our eyes stay healthy but also great for our skin. 

Seed Pesto Salmon & Chard 

wild salmon, swiss chard, dill, sunflower seed, lemon, garlic, sumac

This is a great dish with complexity and also incorporates Vitamin E into our nutrition. Vitamin A helps to maintain clear corneas (the clear portion at the front of our eyes). 

Carrot Nuggets 

carrot, whole wheat flour, fresno chili, egg, baking powder, apple cider vinegar, cumin, cayenne, onion powder

Carrots are tasty but did you also know that it helps us with night vision?

Roasted Red Pepper Frittata 

egg, red pepper, kale, spinach, basil, allspice, cumin, cayenne, onion powder

Green leafy vegetables and pigmented peppers contain beta-carotene, which is really great to protect our retinal eye health from damage.

Check out our Hindsight is 20/20 word search on Instagram — the first word you see is your nutrition prescription to better vision!