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Wednesday 5 May 2021

Eye Health Is Important : Nutrients That Will Optimize Your Eye Health

Atli Arnarson, PhD writes:
"Your eyesight is probably the most important of your five senses. Eye health goes hand-in-hand with general health, but a few nutrients are especially important for your eyes. These nutrients help maintain eye function, protect your eyes against harmful light, and reduce the development of age-related degenerative diseases.

Overview of Common Eye Diseases
Your risk of developing an eye disease increases as you get older. The most common eye diseases include:
Cataracts. A condition in which your eyes become clouded. Age-related cataracts are a leading cause of vision impairment and blindness around the world.
Diabetic retinopathy. Associated with diabetes and a major cause of visual impairment and blindness, retinopathy develops when high blood sugar levels damage the blood vessels in your retina.
Dry eye disease. A condition marked by insufficient tear fluid, which causes your eyes to dry up and leads to discomfort and potential visual problems.
Glaucoma. A group of diseases characterized by progressive degeneration of your optic nerve, which transfers visual information from eyes to brain. Glaucoma may cause poor eyesight or blindness.
Macular degeneration. The macula is the central part of your retina. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is one of the main causes of blindness in developed countries.
Although your risk of getting these conditions depends to some extent on your genes, your diet may also play a major role.
Summary The most common eye conditions include cataracts, macular degeneration, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy. Your risk of developing these diseases depends on your age, genetics, chronic diseases, and lifestyle.

Here are eight nutrients that benefit your eyes.

1. Vitamin A
Vitamin A deficiency is one of the most common causes of blindness in the world. This vitamin is essential for maintaining your eyes' light-sensing cells, also known as photoreceptors. If you don't consume enough vitamin A, you may experience night blindness, dry eyes, or even more serious conditions, depending on the severity of your deficiency.
Vitamin A is only found in animal-derived foods. The richest dietary sources include liver, egg yolks, and dairy products.
However, you can also get vitamin A from antioxidant plant compounds called provitamin A carotenoids, found in high amounts in some fruits and vegetables.
Provitamin A carotenoids provide around 30% of people's vitamin A requirements, on average. The most efficient of them is beta-carotene, which is found in high amounts in kale, spinach, and carrots.
Summary Vitamin A deficiency may lead to night blindness and dry eyes. Vitamin A is only found in animal-derived foods, but your body can convert certain plant-based carotenoids into vitamin A.

2–3. Lutein and Zeaxanthin
Lutein and zeaxanthin are yellow carotenoid antioxidants known as macular pigments. They are concentrated in the macula, the central part of your retina, which is a layer of light-sensitive cells on the back wall of your eyeball. Lutein and zeaxanthin function as a natural sunblock. They’re thought to play a central role in protecting your eyes against harmful blue light.
Lutein and zeaxanthin usually occur together in foods. Spinach, swiss chard, kale, parsley, pistachios, and green peas are among the best sources. What’s more, egg yolks, sweet corn, and red grapes may also be high in lutein and zeaxanthin. In fact, egg yolks are considered one of the best sources due to their high fat content. Carotenoids are better absorbed when eaten with fat, so it’s best to add some avocado or healthy oils to your leafy vegetable salad.
Summary A high intake of lutein and zeaxanthin may reduce your risk of eye diseases, such as macular degeneration and cataracts.

4. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
The long-chain omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA are important for eye health.
DHA is found in high amounts in your retina, where it may help maintain eye function. It’s also important for brain and eye development during infancy. Thus, DHA deficiency can impair vision, especially in children. Evidence also shows that taking omega-3 supplements may benefit those with dry eye disease. Omega-3 fatty acids may also help prevent other eye diseases. A study in middle-aged and older adults with diabetes found that taking at least 500 mg of long-chain omega-3s daily may reduce the risk of diabetic retinopathy. In contrast, omega-3 fatty acids are not an effective treatment for AMD. The best dietary source of EPA and DHA is oily fish. Additionally, omega-3 supplements derived from fish or microalgae are widely available.
Summary Getting adequate amounts of the long-chain omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA from oily fish or supplements may reduce your risk of several eye diseases — especially dry eyes.

5. Gamma-Linolenic Acid
Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) is an omega-6 fatty acid found in small amounts in the modern diet. Unlike many other omega-6 fatty acids, GLA appears to have anti-inflammatory properties. The richest sources of GLA are evening primrose oil and starflower oil. Some evidence suggests that taking evening primrose oil may reduce the symptoms of dry eye disease.
Summary GLA, which is found in high amounts in evening primrose oil, may reduce symptoms of dry eye disease.

6. Vitamin C
Your eyes require high amounts of antioxidants — more so than many other organs. The antioxidant vitamin C appears to be especially important, although controlled studies on its role in eye health are lacking. The concentration of vitamin C is higher in the aqueous humor of the eye than in any other body fluid. The aqueous humor is the liquid that fills the outermost part of your eye.
The levels of vitamin C in the aqueous humor are directly proportional to its dietary intake. In other words, you can increase its concentration by taking supplements or eating foods rich in vitamin C. Observational studies show that people with cataracts tend to have a low antioxidant status. They also indicate that people who take vitamin C supplements are less likely to get cataracts. While vitamin C appears to play a protective role in your eyes, it’s unclear whether supplements provide added benefits for those who aren't deficient. High amounts of vitamin C are found in many fruits and vegetables, including bell peppers, citrus fruits, guavas, kale, and broccoli.
Summary Vitamin C is necessary for your eye health, and getting enough of this antioxidant may protect against cataracts.

7. Vitamin E
Vitamin E is a group of fat-soluble antioxidants that protect fatty acids from harmful oxidation. Since your retina has a high concentration of fatty acids, adequate vitamin E intake is important for optimal eye health. The best dietary sources of vitamin E include almonds, sunflower seeds, and vegetable oils like flaxseed oil.
Summary Vitamin E deficiency may lead to visual degeneration and blindness. For those who aren't deficient, supplements probably won't provide an added benefit.

8. Zinc
Your eyes contain high levels of zinc. Zinc is a part of many essential enzymes. It also appears to be involved in the formation of visual pigments in your retina. For this reason, zinc deficiency may lead to night blindness. In one study, older adults with early macular degeneration were given zinc supplements. Their macular deterioration slowed, and they maintained their visual sharpness better than those who received a placebo. However, further studies are needed before strong conclusions can be reached. Natural dietary sources of zinc include oysters, meat, pumpkin seeds, and peanuts.
Summary Zinc plays an important role in eye function. One study suggests that supplements may slow the early development of macular degeneration in older adults.

The Bottom Line
Healthy lifestyle habits, such as a wholesome diet and regular exercise, may help prevent many chronic diseases — including eye conditions. Getting enough of the nutrients listed above may help reduce your risk. Other vitamins may also play a role in eye health. However, don't neglect the rest of your body. A diet that keeps your whole body healthy will likely keep your eyes healthy, too."

The above words are a snippet from Atli's original article, which can be seen in full with all information and research links here

Related Posts
Healthy Eyes - Feast on Natural Foods, read it here
Computer or Phone - Tips to protect your eyes when staring at a screen, read it here

You will find a variety of articles, studies and recipe ideas within this blog, and not all may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues please take these into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter.

All the best Jan


sandy said...

helpful article - glad to read that exercise is good for good eye health.

DeniseinVA said...

Great information here, thanks so much!

Magic Love Crow said...

Excellent post Jan! Thank you! (take some pictures of your ducks next time, please) Big Hugs!

Martha said...

Such an important topic with great information. Thank you!

Tom said...

...I don't want a seeing eye dog!

Martha said...

Great information Jan! My vision has taken a dive recently. As soon as I'm fully vaccinated I need to go find out what's going on. Hopefully just need new glasses but you never know when we start getting up there in years.

My name is Erika. said...

Interesting post. Eye health is as important as other body systems since losing sight would might not be life threatening but certainly would take away quality of life.

DUTA said...

Very important information1 Thanks for sharing.
I'm sure there are things we can do to prevent or at least delay eye problems.The vitamins mentioned as well as lutein and zeaxantin are among them. Most of us eat eggs, and it's good to know the yolks can play a big role in preventing eye diseases.

William Kendall said...

Very informative!

Christine said...

Thanks for this good information.

DVArtist said...

This is an excellent post. Thank you.

J.P. Alexander said...

Si como diabetica siempre trato de cuidar mis ojos y mis pies. Te mando un beso genial articulo

peppylady (Dora) said...

I don't think very many people think of eye health.
Coffee is on and stay safe

Angie said...

Jan - great article. Our eyes are often taken for granted!

Lorrie said...

Eye health is very important - not just a good diet, but regular eye check ups, too. Which reminds me that I'm overdue for one!

Margaret D said...

Interesting to read.

Elephant's Child said...

Thanks for these tips.

Iris Flavia said...

Great info and am I glad I love eggs, meat and carrots.

Valerie-Jael said...

Good advice to look after your eyes, they're so important! Valerie

eileeninmd said...


Great advice and tips. Thanks for sharing!
Have a happy day!

Sami said...

Great article Jan.

linda said...

Some very good advice there, I have two of the above, my eyesight has really deteriorated in the past year. I have just managed to get an eye appointment but will have to wait a month, I think now that the covid cases have gone down everyone wants to visit the optician.

handmade by amalia said...

This is excellent, Jan - informative and important. Thanks for sharing!

Jo said...

An interesting read.

Jeanie said...

This is good. I have some problems with dry eye but most all else is fine. So far, nothing drops don't help with. I don't know what I'd do without my eyes.

Inger said...

I really appreciate the work you put into gathering and sharing this information. It's so important. Thank you.

R's Rue said...

Thank you

Snowbird said...

That is so useful. Thanks

Miss Val's Creations said...

Eye health is so important! I recently started adding kimchi to my diet and read that it can be beneficial to eye health too.

Teresa said...

Muy interesante como siempre. Besos.

Lee said...

Great information...great advice.

Rose said...

Thank you so much for this blogpost...I cannot concentrate enough to take it all in...but it something i really needed to read.

Himawan Sant said...

Interesting and useful articles for maintaining eye health.
Thank you for being reminded to always maintain eye health through this entry.

Ygraine said...

Very important information here, many thanks for sharing this.😊😊
I am already suffering macular degeneration and dry eye problems, but hadn't thought about a possible link to my diet, so this great post has proved very helpful!

Have a great weekend...and stay safe, dear friends.

Hugs xxx

Pam said...

Supplements....I never was big on taking them until my 30s when I started taking calcium. But when I had my gastric by pass surgery in 2017 I have to be sure I eat foods with protein, since that is very important to my system. But being I can't absorb vits and supplements I have to take calcium, vit B12 and Vit D3 everyday. I found I love the chewable!!

Sue said...

What a great article, we definitely take our eye health for granted x

David M. Gascoigne, said...

My eye doctor is a great advocate for leafy green vegetables and I never leave there without she reminds me to eat lots. And I do!