12 Jul Vitamins that Help Improve your Eye Health
In order to keep your eyes healthy, it is important that you maintain a healthy diet rich in vitamins and nutrients. Your eyes are complex organs with many parts and need a variety of nutrients to function properly. Many conditions, such as diabetic retinopathy, age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, and cataracts, can worsen due to a lack of vitamins. Especially as you age, nutrition can have a large impact on your eyes. To keep your eyes healthy, ensure your diet includes the following vitamins.
1. Vitamin A
Vitamin A is extremely important for eye health and supports multiple functions of the eye. As a component of the protein rhodopsin, Vitamin A helps the eye to see in low-light conditions. A deficiency in Vitamin A, while rare, can lead to night blindness.
Vitamin A also supports the cornea, the protective outer layer of the eye. In this case, insufficient intake of Vitamin A can lead to dry eyes, as Vitamin A is important in keeping the eye lubricated. In serious circumstances, lack of Vitamin A can lead to the eyes drying out and the cornea softening, resulting in irreversible blindness.
For the most part, humans get Vitamin A in foods rich in beta carotene. When the body ingests carotenoids, their body converts them into Vitamin A. While carrots might be your first thought when it comes to beta carotene, there are many other options that are rich in carotenoids. For instance, sweet potatoes, leafy greens, pumpkins, and bell peppers are also excellent sources of Vitamin A.
2. Vitamins E & C
Two vitamins that are important for your eye health are Vitamins E & C. These two vitamins are high in antioxidant properties and can help fight the free radicals that damage tissue throughout the body. When the free radicals attack proteins within the eye, it can often lead to the development of cloudy areas—or cataracts—on the lens of the eye. If you consume enough Vitamin E & C, through diet or supplements, it could help reduce your risk of developing cataracts.
If you are looking to increase your consumption of Vitamin E, look no further than seeds and nuts! Many different nuts and seeds are high in Vitamin E, including almonds, sunflower seeds, and peanuts. Cooking oils such as safflower oil can also be a good source of Vitamin E. In fact, salmon, avocado, soybeans, and leafy greens are also good sources of Vitamin E.
Unfortunately, the concentration of Vitamin C in the eye decreases with age, and so a diet rich in Vitamin C should be combined with supplements to counteract this decrease. For high Vitamin C intake, reach for fresh fruit and berries. Oranges, grapefruits, and other citrus fruits are high in Vitamin C, as are strawberries and blackberries. If you prefer vegetables, reach for the broccoli or brussels sprouts for your dose of Vitamin C.
3. B Vitamins
There are many B Vitamins that are extremely important to your eye health. Vitamins B6, B9, and B12 help lower levels of homocysteine, a protein that may be associated with inflammation and an increased risk of Age-related Macular Degeneration.
Vitamin B2, or riboflavin, is another vitamin with antioxidant properties, that can help alleviate oxidative stress in your eyes, reducing the risk of cataracts.
Niacin, also known as Vitamin B3, is an antioxidant that helps convert food into energy. Studies have recently suggested that it may also play a role in the prevention of glaucoma, a condition which damages the optic nerve. However, if you are taking supplements, take niacin with caution. Niacin may in fact pose adverse effects to the eyes, including blurred vision, macular damage, and inflammation of the cornea, if taken in too high a dose.
Different B Vitamins can be found in a variety of foods, especially in animal products. Eggs, liver and other red meats, fish, yogurt, and dark leafy greens are high in a variety of B Vitamins. However, you can also take a Vitamin B Complex supplement to fill in the gaps of Vitamin B in your diet!
To keep your eyes healthy, it is important that you consume a healthy, varied diet. A good rule of thumb to get a variety of vitamins and nutrients is to “eat the rainbow” and include a variety of colours and types of foods. For additional advice on how to keep your eyes as healthy as possible, contact Dr D’Orio Eyecare. To book an appointment, visit https://drdorioeyecare.com/book-appointment/ or call us at 416 656 2020 for our Toronto location, or 416 661 5555 for our North York location.