Caring for our eyes is as important as caring for any other part of our body. Moreso, since it’s the most important of the five senses. The simplest way to ensure your eyes stay as functional as possible is to make sure you’re getting the proper nutrients to maintain their health. Not sure what those are? Don’t worry, this guide will tell you all about what you need in your diet to ensure the best eye health.
Vitamins A, C and E
Vitamin A is the best defence to protect against blindness, as it helps to maintain the light-sensing cells in our eyes. A lack of vitamin A can initiate night blindness, dry eyes and other serious eye diseases. Other than supplements and antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, animal-based foods are the richest sources to get your proper dose of vitamin A.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that’s essential in preventing the development of cataracts. Whether it’s through vitamin C rich foods like citrus fruits, kale and broccoli or supplements, having high levels of vitamin C in your system will protect your eyes.
Vitamin E protects the fatty acids needed to aid in eye health from oxidizing. Our retina contains high levels of fatty acid, meaning it’s imperative we protect it at all costs. Any deficiencies in vitamin E can lead to retinal degeneration and blindness. The best sources of vitamin E are found in almonds, vegetable oils and sunflower seeds. Studies have shown conflicting results on whether or not vitamin E supplements are effective in preventing or slowing age-related eye diseases like cataracts. So it’s probably best to stick to the real thing.
Zeaxanthin and Lutein
These antioxidants are essential to the health of our retina, the layer of light-sensitive cells at the back of our eyes. Both of these nutrients are natural sunblocks, protecting the eyes from harmful blue lighting. Studies have shown that individuals with higher levels of zeaxanthin and lutein had a lower risk of developing macular degeneration and possibly cataracts. However, more research is needed. Leafy greens, egg yolks and red grapes are great sources for these antioxidants.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) are important in the development of the brain and eyes in young children, meaning any deficiency can lead to early vision impairment. Omega-3 can help in treating dry eye disease, which happens when your eyes can’t produce enough moisture, leading to discomfort and possible vision problems. That’s not to say increasing your fatty acid intake can’t help with other eye problems as well. The best sources of omega-3 are in oily fish or fish and microalgae supplements.
An omega-6 fatty acid that has anti-inflammatory properties. Research claims that an increase in this nutrient can reduce symptoms of dry eye disease. You can find gamma-linolenic acid in evening primrose oil and starflower oil.
Naturally, our eyes contain high levels of zinc, as it’s involved in the development of visual pigments within our retinas. This means that lower levels of zinc can lead to night blindness. Natural sources of zinc are found in meat, nuts (peanuts in particular), oysters and pumpkin seeds. There’s evidence that an increase in zinc intake can slow macular deterioration in elderly people but more research is needed.
Since 1991, Eyeview Optical has provided eye care at an affordable price for the community of Waterloo, Ontario. With an onsight optometrist to take care of your eyes, we also produce prescription eyewear, prescription and nonprescription sunglasses, contact lenses, and more. Contact us or visit our website http://eyeviewopticalwaterloo.ca/ for more information.