The purpose of this article is to highlight how we can use nutrition to support healthy eyesight.
The link between nutrition and eye health is not new. The importance of obtaining adequate vitamin A (commonly found in carrots) to prevent nightblindness, especially in developing countries, has been known for decades. More recently, interests have turned to whether nutritional supplementation might help prevent common eye diseases such as cataracts and macular degeneration.
Studies have suggested that six main nutrients – lutein, zeaxanthin, beta-carotene (vitamin A), vitamin C, vitamin E, and zinc-help to support healthy vision, as well as potentially contributing to a decreased risk of eye disease. These nutrients are found in many foods, including sweet potatoes, peppers, broccoli, spinach, nuts and citrus fruits.
Omega-3 fatty acids are also important for maintaining optimal eye health. Fatty acids are especially important in an arid climate like Colorado because they help maintain proper lubrication in the eye. Fish such as salmon and trout are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
Most nutritionists agree that it is best to consume all of these nutrients through a balanced diet. However, with our harried lifestyles, it is becoming increasingly difficult for most of us to enjoy excellent nutrition every day. Vitamin supplementation can help to make up for some of these nutritional deficiencies.
There are a variety of commercially available multivitamins that include all six nutrients important for healthy vision. Those who are at increased risk for cataracts or macular degeneration may want to consider supplementing with a multivitamin that contains increased levels of these nutrients, such as Preservision or I-Caps. In addition, those with dry eyes may see a benefit to supplementing with fish oil or flaxseed oil.
It is worth noting that not everyone will benefit from vitamin supplementation. For instance, several studies have shown an increased risk of lung cancer for smokers who take beta-carotene supplements. You should always check with your primary care physician before starting a new vitamin regimen.
Author: Dr. Keely Knoche
Rockrimmon Vision Source
6005 Delmonico Drive, Colorado Springs CO