Vision loss in people over the age of 60 is most commonly caused by age-related macular degeneration, and scientists now believe that this disease can be avoided by eating plenty of yellow vegetables.

Age-related macular degeneration currently affects at least six million people in the US and causes vision impairment in nearly a third.

It has long been linked to sun and smoke damage, but scientists at the Florida International University believe that consumers can protect their sight by eating the right foods. Physics professor Richard Bon and colleagues recently completed a study that suggests that diets low in the pigments lutein and zeaxanthin may contribute to macular degeneration.

The yellow pigments, which are found in yellow squash, corn, tangerines and persimmons, are also in high concentration in the macular lutea in the retina, a “yellow spot” that registers central vision.

According to the study, those with higher concentration of the pigments has an 82% reduced risk of vision damage, compared with those with low macular pigmentation.

The pigments are also found in in spinach, kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, lettuce, peas and rhubarb.