Everyone knows a proverb “You are what you eat.” We can also say that “Your eyes are what you eat” as we know that your eye sight and health is affected by your daily diet and nutrients intake. We all know that we need to have a balanced diet to keep our bodies going but let’s look at the relation of certain vitamins and micro-nutrients and the eye function as some people’s food choices vary based on personal preferences and may not include some of the “good for your eyes” staff.
Vitamin C, found in fruits and vegetables, is essential for the health of your blood vessels feeding the vital organs, including your eyes. Recent study found that incidence of cataracts is inversely proportional to vitamin C intake. The bottom line: make sure you have enough of vitamin C in your diet to delay the onset of cataracts.
Omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA, found in fatty fish such as salmon, is good for people suffering dry eye syndrome, blepharitis, meibomian gland dysfunction and age-related macular degeneration. These macro-nutrients are also found to be beneficial for general health. Higher intake is related to lower incidence of macular degeneration and improved symptoms of dry eye.
Lutein and zaexanthine as well as vitamin E, C, beta carotene, zinc oxide and copper oxide may be able to slow the progression of macular degeneration according to the Age-Related Eye Diseases Study (AREDS), funded by the National Eye Institute as well as by other research. They are a part of a special formulation called AREDS supplement for people at risk for macular degeneration.
Vitamin A is used in metabolism of cells in the surface of the eye (cornea, conjunctiva) and retina’s rods and cones. Insufficient intake of vitamin A leads to dry eye and night blindness. Folic acid, vitamins B6 and B12 may also be beneficial in the health of the retina. Ask your doctor before taking these supplements and AREDS formula because vitamin A may increase risk of lung cancer in people who smoke.
People with diabetes are recommended to follow a low glycemic index diet, to consume small quantities of carbohydrates and to keep the blood sugars at low levels. Keeping blood glucose levels under control helps prevent the complications of diabetes leading to decreased vision, such as dry eye, cataract, diabetic retinal diseases.
Balanced nutrition and diet supplementation is essential to keeping your eye health but none of the vitamins or nutritional supplements is panacea against an eye disease. Remember to keep a good nutrition for your overall and eye health and see your your doctor for specific and personalized recommendations.