Nutrition & Your Eyes

Dr. Diane Spada

We are what we eat. However, we often take it for granted that our vision will always be there for us. My mantra to patients has always been: Optimal vision begins with healthy eyes. By ensuring we incorporate certain nutrients in our diet, we can reduce or delay the risk of some eye diseases. Here are a few such nutrients:

  • Vitamin A – Some food sources of retinol and pro-vitamin vitamin A (carotenoids) include beef, cheese, carrots, kale, sweet potatoes, and spinach. Studies show vitamin A eye drops are effective for the treatment of dry eyes, and when combined with other antioxidants, plays a role in decreasing the risk of macular degeneration (AMD).
  • Lutein & Zeaxanthin – Found primarily in green leafy vegetables, many studies have shown that lutein and zeaxanthin reduce the risk of both age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.
  • Vitamin C – Vitamin C (aka ascorbic acid) is an antioxidant found in fruits and vegetables. Some evidence suggests vitamin C helps delay the progression of cataracts. Additionally, when taken in combination with other essential nutrients, vitamin C can contribute to slowing the progression of age-related macular degeneration and subsequent visual acuity loss.
  • Vitamin E – Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant found in many nuts, fortified cereals and vegetables. It helps protect ocular tissue from damage caused by unstable free radicals.
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids – Essential fatty acids are known to help maintain the integrity of the nervous system, decrease inflammation, and boost our immunity. Regarding the eyes, Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to decrease blepharitis (eyelid inflammation), and is also essential for retinal development leading to proper visual function.
  • Zinc – Zinc is an essential trace mineral that is vital in the production of melanin, a protective pigment in the retinal layers of the eyes.

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