When it comes to nutrition and the healthy eyes, carrots instantly come to mind. While your mother was correct and they do provide Vitamin A, which is vital for ocular function and maintained ocular health, most people will find it difficult to incorporate carrots into their daily menus. Luckily, there are many foods that provide great nutritional benefits for eye health and are key to maintaining your eyesight. Today I’m just going to introduce some basic vitamins that promote eye health and discuss some foods in which they can be found. However, check back often as we will be featuring more detailed information, additional foods, and tips and ideas for incorporating these nutrients into your diet.
Here are a few vitamins that are significant for eye health. These will also be covered in greater detail in the future:
Vitamin A – An antioxidant that promotes good eye health, reduces the chance of eye infections and, when combined with other antioxidants, can be used to help reduce or prevent the prevalence of age-related macular degeneration. Vitamin A can be found in meat, vegetables, and fruits.
Vitamin C – Another antioxidant found in fruits and vegetables. Vitamin C helps to promote healthy connective tissue, which occurs in the eye, especially the cornea. It also has been found to maintain healthy blood vessels, which are vital to eye health. Some recent studies have even concluded that Vitamin C can help slow down the progression of cataract formation.
Vitamin E – This antioxidant, commonly found in nuts, helps to eliminate free radicals, responsible for damaging cell membranes, from the body. Free radicals are commonly believed to cause cataract formation, and studies now show that Vitamin E could possibly help to reduce the onset of cataracts. Vitamin E may also promote macular health and prevent age-related macular degeneration.
Lutein & Zeaxanthin – These compounds called xanthophylls are antioxidants commonly found in and around the macula (central vision). A number of studies have shown that Lutein and Zeaxanthin, when taken daily, can help to prevent and slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration. Currently a clinical trial, AREDS2, is being conducted to better assess the effects of Lutein and Zeaxanthin in relation to macular degeneration prevention. A common place to find these compounds are in leafy green vegetables such as spinach and kale.
To prevent vitamin/medication interactions, increased supplementation of these vitamins should always be discussed with and managed by your doctor. We’d love to sit down talk with you about how you might begin implementing diet changes for healthier vision!
Jon Stoppel, OD