If your diet already provides the necessary vitamins and nutrients for your body, adding a supplement will not do anything to improve vision. Excessive intake of vitamins and essential nutrients can imbalance the body and lead to other severe health problems. If you think you might have a deficiency, speak to a doctor to verify and get recommendations on the best supplement for you.
The Exception: Age-Related Macular Degeneration
The primary cause of vision loss as we age, Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD), is the exception that vitamin and nutrient supplements have proven to prevent and treat. Clinical trials have found that proper nutritional supplements can reduce the risk of developing AMD by 25%. The study found the levels required to achieve results were not possible from diet alone.
If you have been diagnosed with or are at risk of developing AMD speak to your health care provider or optometrist about taking a supplement based on the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS). Supplements for AMD are balanced to get the levels needed without pushing into harmful side effects.
What Vitamins Should You Take for Your Eyes?
Essential vitamins and nutrients are compounds our bodies can’t synthesize. We need to ingest them as part of a healthy diet, or where necessary, that’s where supplements come into play.
While they won’t reverse the damage already done by a disease, vitamins can correct issues caused by deficiencies and promote eye health to slow the development of some eye conditions. Below we will go over the vitamins and nutrients most linked to eye health and what food sources naturally contain them.
Vitamins That Promote Eye Health
Vitamins are organic micronutrients that our bodies need in small quantities for a properly functioning metabolism. Of the thirteen vitamins, four, in particular, have been linked to maintaining ocular health.
- Vitamin A: Deficiencies are linked to reduced night vision and the development of a white spot on the conjunctiva. Sweet potatoes, carrots, and squashes contain high levels of vitamin A or its precursor, beta carotene.
- Vitamin C: Diets rich in this vitamin have been shown to reduce cortical and nuclear cataract progression by up to 33%. Look towards fruit like oranges and blackberries, along with broccoli, for a good source of this vitamin.
- Vitamin E and B: There isn’t a genuine scientific consensus on these two, but preliminary studies have indicated that they may help reduce the risk of cataracts and glaucoma. Oils and nuts are good sources of vitamin E. While beef, dairy, and dark leafy greens are good sources of vitamin B.
Essential Mineral Nutrients and Fatty-Acids
Aside from the headline vitamins that you see across supplements are the various other compounds, fatty acids, and minerals required for proper cellular function. Those that are of particular concern when it comes to eye health are:
- Zinc: Helps maintain retina health and the production of melanin, which protects the eye from damaging ultraviolet light. Seafood, whole grains, and beans are excellent sources.
- Lutein and Zeaxanthin: Both are carotenoids that reduce oxidative damage in the retina, a leading contributing factor to AMD. Dark leafy greens like kale and spinach, along with egg yolks, are excellent dietary sources for these two.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Can reduce the buildup of deposits in blood vessels, promoting good blood flow to the retina. Oily fish is the go-to for omega-3 but can also be found in flaxseed and walnuts if you aren’t a fan of sardines or tuna.
Supplements Available to Promote Eye Health
Unfortunately, not everyone can get the needed vitamins and minerals from diet alone due to cost, other medical conditions, or food allergies. If you can’t get essential vitamins and nutrients via your diet, check with your doctor and optometrist to see what supplement is appropriate for you.
There are a number of options available on the market, both in individual pills if you are only deficient in one or multi-vitamins for broader coverage.
Asheville Vision and Wellness
Serving the community of Asheville and surrounding Western North Carolina since 1989, Asheville Vision and Wellness focuses on providing the highest quality vision care to our patients. We provide comprehensive eye exams, ocular disease treatment, and nutritional counseling services.
Our nutritional counseling includes education and a focus on healthy eating and lifestyle changes strategies. But we also carry a number of dietary supplements and eye care products to help with the treatment of AMD, glaucoma, and other ocular conditions.
- Macuhealth: With over 30 peer-reviewed studies under its belt, this is the leading choice for aiding the treatment and prevention of age-related macular degeneration. It is specially formulated to rebuild and maximize macular pigment to protect the retina.
- LifeGuard: With 40 essential nutrients, this multivitamin protects your heart, body, brain, and eyes. An all-encompassing supplement, so you don’t need to worry about taking multiple pills.
- RepairGuard: Features a formulated mix of antioxidants and nutrients to manage and reduce inflammation from pollutants and stressors. It contains high levels of vitamins A, C, and E.
Schedule a visit today for a comprehensive eye exam or nutritional counseling to get started on your journey to a brighter-looking future.