Eyesight is often the first sense affected by time and poor nutrition. The three most common eye disorders are macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and cataracts. Fortunately, regular eye exams can help in early detection and treatment of serious eye disorders. Natural interventions can also help deter the development of the above eye conditions, improve eye health, as well as support ongoing eye health.
Vitamins, minerals and antioxidants from diet and supplements are essential for supporting and maintaining eye health. Nutrients for healthy eyes include the following:
Vitamins: Vitamin A is essential for retinal photoreceptor pigment formation. Concentrated in the watery fluid that fills the space between the cornea and lens, vitamin C protects the lens from oxidative damage while increasing the absorption rate of lutein and zeaxanthin.
Minerals: Zinc is concentrated in the retina and choroid (layer of blood vessels and connective tissue between the white of the eye and retina) and plays an important part in retina and lens metabolism. The Age-Related Macular Degeneration Study (AREDS) reported that supplementing with vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, zinc and copper reduced the risk of developing advanced AMD. (Smokers should avoid beta-carotene when considering long-term usage because of increased risk of lung cancer.)
Antioxidants: The antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin are major macular pigments in the eye and play important roles in the maintenance of retina function by filtering high energy blue light and preventing oxidative damage.
Anthocyanins: Water-soluble plant pigments, anthocyanins are a rich source of antioxidants. Sources include bilberry, used to improve night vision and slow the progression of eye disorders, and black currant, used to help improve dark adaptation and visual fatigue.
Omega-3s: The omega-3 fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) are concentrated in the retina. They are essential for retina function and may aid in vision development, vision recovery, improving dry eye syndrome, and lowering the risk of AMD.
One option is to take a comprehensive formula that includes many of the nutrients above. Pathway Vision Support Formula contains ingredients to support healthy vision.
If you would like to know more about supporting eye health, please contact Village Green Apothecary and ask for a nutrition advisor.
Photo from here, with thanks.