We all know that good nutrition helps keep us healthy, but did you know that when we tell our kids to eat their vegetables so that they can see far away, it is more than just a strategy to get kids to eat their carrots? Let’s break it down to understand what nutrients improve eye health and vision and where you can find them.
Vitamin A is important for eye health to the point that an extreme lack of it can cause night blindness, vision loss, and severe dry eye. Vitamin A also helps to prevent cataracts and macular degeneration which are leading causes of blindness.
Good sources of vitamin A include carrots, leafy greens, fish oil, eggs, and cantaloupe.
Vitamin E protects cells in the eyes from free radicals which are unstable molecules that break down healthy tissue. Vitamin E is an ingredient in the AREDS2 vitamin formulation that decreases the risk of age-related macular degeneration progression.
Good food sources of vitamin E include vegetable oils such as safflower and corn oil, nuts, wheat germ, and sweet potatoes.
Evidence suggests vitamin C lowers the risk of developing cataracts when taken in combination with other essential nutrients. It is known to slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration. Vitamin C is also an ingredient in the AREDS2 vitamin formulation that decreases the risk of age-related macular degeneration progression.
Good sources of vitamin C are citruses like oranges and grapefruit, strawberries, papaya, green peppers, and tomatoes.
Lutein & Zeaxanthin
Lutein and zeaxanthin work as antoxidants to protect your eyes from harmful free radicals such as UV light rays. This combination is also an ingredient in the AREDS2 vitamin formulation that decreases the risk of age-related macular degeneration progression.
Good sources of lutein & zeaxanthin are dark leafy greens, colorful fruits and vegetables like broccoli, corn, peas, persimmons, and tangerines.
Essential fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are extremely important for proper eye health. In pre-term and full-term infants, studies show that getting adequate omega-3 fatty acids in the diet is essential for optimal visual development as they help reduce inflammation, support tear production, and maintain the eye’s oily outer layer. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential to improving common eye surface conditions such as dry eye and meibomian gland dysfunction.
Good sources of omega-3 fatty acids include salmon, tuna, and other cold-water fish.
Zinc also plays a vital role in eye health and vision. It transports vitamin A from the liver to the retina in order to produce melanin. Melanin is a protective pigment in the eyes. Several conditions have been linked to a zinc deficiency including poor night vision and cloudy cataracts. Zinc is also an ingredient in the AREDS2 vitamin formulation that decreases the risk of age-related macular degeneration progression.
Good sources of zinc are red meat, oysters and other shellfish, and nuts and seeds.
If you and your family want to stay on top of your eye health, be sure to eat plenty of nutrient-rich foods and schedule your annual eye exam today! You can book an appointment by calling 251-341-3413 or completing our contact form here.