Nutrients for Eye Health
Most people will agree that out of your five senses most people value their vision the most, in fact in a study carried out by Novartis 85% of respondents stated that of the five senses, they would be most afraid of losing their sense of sight.
As we age it is not uncommon for our vision to change and for eye conditions to develop, there are some little extra steps that you can take that can be important for your eye health, particularly with your diets and the nutrients that you consume.
Common Eye Conditions
- Cataracts - Cataracts are increasingly common as you age. This is one of the most common forms of eye condition and involves the lens or lenses in your eyes becoming clouded. This leads to vision impairment and potentially complete blindness.
- Diabetic Retinopathy - Diabetic retinopathy forms when the body contains high blood sugar levels, causing blood vessels in the retina to burst. This can lead to vision loss and blindness if not treated.
- Dry Eye Syndrome - Dry eye syndrome occurs when the eyes have insufficient tear fluid, either because the eyes are not making enough tears or the tears evaporate too quickly. When the eyes dry up it can easily cause discomfort and potentially lead to visual problems.
- Glaucoma - Glaucoma is a group of diseases that damage the optic nerve situated at the back of the eye, and in so doing can cause vision loss and even blindness.
- Age-Related Macular Degeneration - Age-related macular degeneration is a condition that affects the macular of the eye and is increasingly common in those over 60. Dry AMD develops gradually as the macular deteriorates and retinal cells die off and Wet AMD develops when abnormal blood vessels grow into the macular and then leak, leading to central vision loss.
Your chances of developing these conditions can be dependent on a number of factors including age, genetics, lifestyle, and diet.
Is Diet Important To Eye Health
Yes, just like your general health, diet plays an important part in maintaining good eye health and vision. Having a diet high in Vitamin C, E, Zinc and zeaxanthin among other things can help reduce the risk of eye diseases such as age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.
What Vitamins And Nutrients Are Good For Eye Health
Vitamins and nutrients play an important role in reducing your risk and even slowing the onset of numerous eye conditions, especially as you age
- Vitamin A (1) - Helps your eyes adjust to lighting and can lower the risk of age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. A deficiency in vitamin A can cause several issues including dry eyes and night blindness
- Beta Carotene - Contains EPA and DHA acids which are helpful for your eye health. DHA is found in your retina and helps maintain eye function.
- Vitamin C (2) (along with beta carotene)- An antioxidant that can reduce the harmful effects of cell degeneration, therefore can protect your eyes against age-related macular degeneration and can lower the risk of cataracts
- Vitamin E - An antioxidant that can help protect your eyes from the damaging effect of free radicals and can reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration and cataracts
- Lutein - Is a carotenoid with reported anti-inflammatory properties which is good for eye health and in particular AMD (3)
- Omega 3 - Can help protect your eyes from age-related macular degeneration and glaucoma
- Zeaxanthin - An anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory that can reduce your risk of eye-related conditions (4 and protect the eyes from absorbing harmful blue light
- Zinc - Is a mineral that aids vitamin A in your liver to reach your retina and helps produce melanin that protects the eyes from harmful sun rays
10 Foods For Great Eye Health And Vision
One of the best things you can do for your eyes is to eat a healthy diet full of vitamins and essential oils, fatty acids and antioxidants. It is probably easier than you think to get all of the essential elements into a regular diet
- Fish - Many fish are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids
- Leafy Green - Contains lutein and zeaxanthin and vitamin C.
- Carrots - Vitamin A and beta carotene
- Nuts - Contain Omega-3 fatty acids and a high level of vitamin E
- Sweet Potatoes - Contain beta carotene vitamin E.
- Seeds - Contain omega-3s and are a rich source of vitamin E.
- Eggs - Contai lutein and zeaxanthin, and are also good sources of vitamins C and E, and zinc
- Lean meat and chicken - Contain zinc
- Broccoli and Sprouts - Rich in vitamins A, C and E along with Lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta carotene.
- Water - Although not actually a high vitamin source a good supply of drinking water is essential to eye health
Diet alone can not prevent serious eye conditions and loss of sight, diet is a small part of a healthy lifestyle that should include exercise, no smoking, wearing sunglasses, drinking plenty of water, and watching your weight. Genetics also plays an important role in your chances of developing various eye conditions and symptoms as you age.
Author: John Dreyer Optometrist Bsc(Hons), MCOPTOM, DipCLP
Created: 26 May 2019, Last modified: 17 Apr 2023