Top Vitamins for Your Vision
Millions of people suffer from vision loss due to age and other diseases that can affect their eyesight. Unfortunately, some people are genetically prone to such conditions. As people age, the body tends to produce more hormones and builds up chemicals in the body that act as defense mechanisms against unhealthy lifestyles. The good news is there are things that you can do now, in your everyday routine, to prevent or reduce the loss of vision due to disease or age-related macular degeneration. Several different vitamins, which can be incorporated into a healthy diet or taken as supplements, have been scientifically proven to improve the overall health of the eye, improve vision, and work as a preventative measure for future vision loss or disease. Many of these nutrients can be found in a regular over-the-counter multivitamin, but it is important to know what you’re looking for.
It is estimated that nearly half of all adults over the age of seventy-five will suffer from cataracts to some degree. While operations and technology make cataracts increasingly treatable, there are also many things that can be done to prevent their early onset. The biggest thing that helps prevent and reduce the onset of cataracts is the incorporation of foods into the diet that are full of antioxidants and that have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body. These foods include carrots and green leafy vegetables, which are all high in vitamins C, E, and A.
One of the leading causes of blindness in adults is a disease called diabetic retinopathy. This is a disease that can either be prevented or effectively managed by diet alone. By regulating one’s sugar and hormone levels, individuals suffering from diabetes can maintain the health of their eyes. Diabetic retinopathy can be caused by type one or type two diabetes when blood sugar and hormone levels are not regulated, thus ultimately leading to blindness at an early age.
Lutein has been nicknamed by the medical community as “the eye vitamin,” though it protects both the eyes and the skin. It can be consumed naturally through green leafy vegetables, oranges and other citrus fruits, and egg yolks. It is an anti-inflammatory carotenoid that protects both the lens and the macula of the eye. The average recommended daily dose of this vitamin is 6 mg. Researchers have found that daily consumption can reduce the risk of macular degeneration by over forty percent.
Another miracle eye vitamin, also a type of carotenoid, is zeaxanthin. What makes these two carotenoids unique among the 600 existing in nature is that these two are among only twenty that reach the eye. Of those 20, these two have the most significant effects on the overall health of the eye. Zeaxanthin works similarly to lutein in that it protects the tissue, macula, and lens of the eye, further reducing the onset of cataracts and providing significant improvements to the overall clarity of vision.
One of the most common vitamins available over the counter is vitamin C. Most known for its ability to boost the immune system and help fight and prevent colds, it is also extremely beneficial to the overall health of one’s vision. The ability of vitamin C to fight free radicals and improve the body’s ability to absorb nutrients makes it particularly advantageous when repairing damaged tissue by improving the body’s response to inflammation and other irritations that often occur in the eye. Studies show that patients on a regular regimen of a vitamin C supplement were more than 50% less likely to develop cataracts.
Vitamin E works together with vitamin C to strengthen the tissues of the eye and prevent and reduce inflammation. The antioxidant properties work with the body to decrease the risk of macular degeneration as well as to increase the body’s ability to heal itself after a patient undergoes a laser eye operation. The chance of macular degeneration is decreased by 25% for people who are on a vitamin E routine. Research has been able to determine that higher doses lead to increasingly favorable results in the treatment of cataracts and other eye diseases.
Unlike the abovementioned vitamins, the mineral zinc helps to improve the overall health of the retina of the eye. The consumption of zinc is directly linked with the body’s ability to absorb other nutrients and vitamins, which also work with the body to reduce inflammation and cell damage as well as to repair damaged cells faster. Fish, meat, and nuts are all great natural sources of zinc, which can be incorporated into a healthy diet.
Omega-3s are a fatty acid nutritional supplement that we hear mentioned quite often as it relates to health benefits and the overall improvement of one’s well-being. The anti-aging effect that omega-3s have on the body works in combination with anti-inflammatory agents to make the intake of omega-3s an extremely vital component of eye health. They have the power to regulate blood sugar and repair tissue, so much so that they are used to treat the side effects of other diseases such as heart disease. Omega-3s can be found naturally in many of the foods that are part of a regular diet. Foods such as fish, nuts, olive oil, and leafy vegetables are all good sources of omega-3s.
Often, consumers can receive a combination of all of these supplements by taking a regular multi-vitamin. However, it is important to know the ingredients in the multivitamin and how they compare to one’s eating habits, so as to be able to plan adequately that the recommended amount of each of these nutrients is being consumed. While modern medicine does offer treatments and drugs for many of these conditions, the key to leading a healthy lifestyle is prevention. By visiting the eye doctor for an annual exam, consumers will know if they are at risk for any of the aforementioned eye diseases or if they are genetically predisposed to macular degeneration. Early detection is key to getting into and maintaining a regimen to protect your vision.