Adequate vitamin and nutrient intake is essential to maintenance of eye function and protection of the retinas and corneas from harmful light. A few of the vitamins and nutrients most essential to eye health include vitamin A, vitamin E, Lutein, and Omega-3. Read on to learn more about vision loss and the best vitamins and nutrient supplements for this common condition.
Vision loss refers to losing your ability to see without a visual aid or corrective device. It can occur both suddenly and gradually over many years. A common condition, it is estimated that vision loss affects around 12 million people in the United States, 1 million of which are completely blind. Increased prevalence of common diseases such as diabetes and cataracts has led experts to predict that this number could double by as soon as 2050.
Vision can worsen gradually over time as one ages, or it can decrease suddenly due to a disease or condition. The most common causes of vision loss include the following:
Cataracs: A condition in which your eyes become cloudy and vision worsens. Cataracts are the leading cause of vision loss and are caused by age or injury-related damage to the eyes.
Dry Eye Disease: Dry eye disease is characterized by tear ducts that are not able to provide adequate lubrication to the eyes. This can cause the eyes to dry up, resulting in vision problems.
Glaucoma: Glaucoma refers to a group of conditions that cause progressive degeneration of the optic nerve, a key nerve which transfers information between the eyes and brain.
Vitmains help maintain bodily structure and contribute to the health of all vital organs in the body. A number of vitamins are helpful in maintaining vision and overall eye health. The best vitamins for vision include vitamin A, vitamin E, lutein, and omega-3 fatty acids.
A lack of vitamin A is one of the most common causes of vision loss in the world, accounting for as many as 500,000 cases of vision loss in children every year. Not consuming enough vitamin A can result in night blindness, dry eyes, or permanent vision loss. Some of the most popular foods known to be high in vitamin A include egg yolk, dairy, and liver.
Vitamin E refers to a group of fat-soluble antioxidants. Although vitamin E deficiency is rare, it can contribute to improper functioning of multiple organs in the body, including the eyes. In fact, severe vitamin E deficiency can result in partial or total blindness, as well as retinal degeneration. The best and most popular dietary supplements of vitamin E include almonds, vegetable oil, and sunflower seeds. Peanuts and peanut butter can also be fantastic sources of vitamin E.
The following nutrients are most important in maintaining healthy vision and eyes.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are prevalent in your retinas, the thin layer of tissue that lines the back of the eye. A diet lacking in omega-3 can increase the risk of high eye pressure, a condition that eventually leads to glaucoma.
Lutein is a carotenoid antioxidant and one of the two major carotenoids found in the eyes. It works as a light filter which protects the eye tissue from sunlight damage. Lutein is available as a dietary supplement and can also be consumed in large amounts through egg yolks, spinach, kale, corn, orange pepper, and zucchini.
Zinc is essential to the production and maintenance of countless essential enzymes, including those which reside in the eyes. Research has shown zinc to be useful in the formation of pigment in the eyes, as well as muscles around the eyes. Zinc helps create a pigment called melanin, which is important to the muscular and cellular health of the corneas and retinas.
Gamma-linolenic acid is an unconventional fatty acid consumed in very small amounts. Research has found that gamma linolenic acid has anti-inflammatory properties if consumed in sufficient dosage. In fact, a comprehensive study published in the National Library of Medicine found that daily dosage of gamma-linolenic acid led to significant improvement in eye health and vision in women.
Maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle is perhaps the most significant contributor to overall eye and vision health. However, supplementing your diet with certain vitamins and nutrients has been found to improve eyesight and prevent degenerative conditions which affect the eye.
A few of the most effective supplements for vision include vitamin A, vitamin E, gamma-linolenic acid, and omega-3 fatty acid.