Essential vitamins and nutrients for clear vision
Important vitamins for eye health are the main vitamins and nutrients that are suitable for the proper functioning of the eye. The human eye is a complex organ that needs several vitamins to help improve your vision immensely. Age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, and glaucoma are common medical conditions that can affect the eyes.
Some factors like environmental factors, nutrition, and age of an individual can have a great effect on one’s eye health.
Proven important vitamins and nutrients for eye health
We have diligently researched the proven vitamins and nutrients that help maintain eye health. They include:
Vitamin A is an essential vitamin for eye health as the absence of it can bring about xerophthalmia. It is not common in developed countries. This vitamin helps maintain a clear cornea, located outsider which is found outside the covering of your eye. Also, this vitamin is a component of rhodopsin, a protein found in the eye that enables a person to see in low light conditions.
Furthermore, this progressive eye disease is known as Xerophthalmia usually begins with night blindness. A continuous deficiency in vitamin A can tear your digits and eventually makes your eyes to dry out. Here your cornea becomes very soft therefore resulting in irreversible blindness. Eye afflictions can be prevented by consuming foods rich in vitamin A.
Some studies deduced that diets rich in vitamin A may bring about reduced age-related macular degeneration (AMD) with some reduced risk of cataracts.
Foods that are rich in vitamin A are leafy green vegetables, sweet potatoes, bell peppers, and pumpkins. For overall eye health, vitamin A-rich foods are preferred to supplements.
Vitamins B6, B9, and B12
These groups of vitamins B6, B9 and B12 are important vitamins for eye health. This combination of vitamins can lower the level of homocysteine, a protein in the body that can cause inflammation and an increased risk of developing AMD (age-related macular degeneration).
A clinical study conducted among women shows that about a 34 percent reduced risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD) where observed while taking 1,000 mcg of vitamin B12 together with vitamins B6 and B9. Although, more research is required to confirm the health benefits of these supplements. It is still not certain if increasing your consumption of vitamin B rich foods would have similar effects in the human body.
Vitamin C is a strong antioxidant that helps protect your eyes against harmful free radicals. It is one of those important vitamins for eye health that are backed up by most studies. A study shows that vitamin C and other several nutrients are used in the supplement AREDS, which are suitable for people with AMD. When AREDS is taken daily, it may help reduce the risk of AMD developing by 25 percent.
Another study shows how vitamin C is needed to make collagen, an essential protein that provides structure to your eye, especially around the cornea and sclera. Also, several kinds of research deduced that vitamin C may help reduce your chances of developing cataracts, a disease that causes your eye to appear cloudy and impairs vision.
Furthermore, research shows that on consuming the daily vitamin C intake above 490 mg, compared to 125 mg or less, it tends to reduce your risk of developing cataracts by 75 percent.
Similarly, another research deduced that a regular intake of vitamin C supplements may lower your risk of having cataracts by 45 percent.
Foods that are rich in this vitamin C like bell peppers, citrus/tropical fruits, kale, and broccoli are good for clear vision and improve your daily intake immensely.
Vitamin E is one of those important vitamins for eye health as it contains a strong antioxidant that helps protect your eye cells from being destroyed by free radicals. A study shows that many eye conditions are known to be attributed to oxidative stress, which is an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in your body.
Consequently, 7-year research involving 3,640 people with AMD deduced that consuming 400 IU of vitamin E and its several other nutrients in a daily supplement known as AREDS lowers the risk of developing into advanced stages by 25 percent.
Another research deduced that diets rich in vitamin E are known to prevent age-related cataracts effectively. Although more research is required as some studies show no link between vitamin E and this medical condition.
Also, a diet with adequate vitamin E is needed to maintain the proper function of the eye and its overall eye health. Some good sources of vitamin E are gotten from salmons, seeds, avocados, nuts, leafy green vegetables, and cooking oils.
Niacin helps convert food eaten into energy and can also act as an antioxidant in your body.
Studies have shown how niacin helps in the prevention of glaucoma, a disease in which the optic nerve of your eye becomes damaged.
Another study on the nutrient consumption of Korean adults and their susceptibility to glaucoma discovered a relationship between low dietary intake of niacin and this medical condition.
Furthermore, a study involving animal deduced that high doses of niacin supplements were effective in preventing glaucoma. However, more research is needed on the relationship between niacin and glaucoma.
Avoid excessive usage of supplements. When consumed in high amounts of 1.5-5 grams daily, niacin may bring about several side effects to the eye like macular damage, blurred vision, and inflammation associated with the cornea. But there’s no proved that consuming foods naturally high in niacin has any side effects. Foods like poultry, beef, mushrooms, fish, legumes, and peanuts are rich in niacin which are important vitamins for eye health.
Omega-3 fatty acids
This is a type of polyunsaturated fat. It is known that the cell membrane of your retina has a high concentration of DHA, a special type of omega-3. Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties which help in the prevention of DR (diabetic retinopathy).
A research of 31 studies deduced that diets rich in oily fish like the traditional Mediterranean diet may help prevent you from having diabetic retinopathy. However, more studies are needed to confirm that fatty acids may be responsible.
People with dry eye disease can easily produce more tears as a result of consuming foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Having this condition, the absence of tears causes dryness, discomfort, and makes your vision appear blurred.
These foods can give you an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids such as flaxseed, fish, soy, nuts, chia seeds, olive oil, and canola.
Lutein and Zeaxanthin
Lutein and zeaxanthin belong to the carotenoid family, a group of important compounds derived from plants. These beneficial plant compounds are present in the retina and macula of the human eyes, where they help filter harmful blue light, thus protecting the human eyes from damage.
Other studies show that these plant compounds may help prevent cataracts and slow or prevent the development of AMD.
A controlled study carried out randomly discovered the important benefits of lutein for people with cataracts. There was an improvement in their vision after taking supplements containing 15 mg of lutein thrice in a week for over 2 years.
Although the daily recommended intakes and safe supplemental doses have not been fixed for these compounds, a dosage of 20 mg of lutein in a day for 6 months has been used in studies without experiencing adverse effects.
Notwithstanding, supplements may not be needed. But with 6 mg of lutein and zeaxanthin may yield optimal results, and a diet rich in vegetables and fruits naturally provides this amount as well. Examples of foods rich in carotenoids are kale, cooked spinach, and collard greens.
Read Also: 10 Best Foods For Eye Health And Eyesight
It is one of those important vitamins for eye health if you want an excellent vision. Riboflavin acts as an antioxidant and is capable of reducing oxidative stress in your eye/body at large.
Researchers are studying the importance of riboflavin in the prevention of cataracts, as prolonged riboflavin deficiency may bring about this condition. It is also observed that many people with cataracts are deficient in this antioxidant.
A study shows how individuals’ diets with 1.6-2.2 mg of riboflavin daily, compared to 0.08 mg per day was known to have a 31-51 percent decreased the risk of cataracts development.
The recommended intake of riboflavin per day by health authorities is 1.1-1.3 mg. You can achieve this desired amount as a lot of foods are rich in riboflavin. Examples of these foods include milk, oats, yogurt, fortified cereals, and beef.
Thiamine is also known as vitamin B1 and it helps in the proper cell functioning/conversion of food into energy. It is also suitable for lowering your chances of having cataracts.
A study carried out on 2,900 people in Australia shows that a diet high in thiamine can reduce your chance of developing cataracts by 40 percent. It also shows that vitamin A, protein, riboflavin, and niacin may prevent an individual from cataracts.
Consequently, thiamine has been identified as an important treatment for the early stages of DR. Another research discovered that 100 mg of thiamine taken thrice per day reduced the amount of albumin in urine, a symptom of DR in type 2 diabetes.
Foods rich in thiamine include meat, whole grains, and fish. It can also be inculcated into foods such as bread, breakfast cereals, and pasta.
Now that you have known some of the important vitamins for eye health, consuming a balanced diet rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, healthy fats, and protein will give you all the nutrients suitable for bright vision and your overall health. You can use supplements where you know you are lacking the above vitamins in your diet. Other nutrients like calcium, selenium, and zinc are important vitamins for eye health.
The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for zinc is 11 mg for men, 8 mg for women, 11 mg during pregnancy and 12 mg during breastfeeding. For calcium, its RDA includes 1000mg for men, 1200 mg for women over aged 51 and men over aged 71. That of selenium includes 55 mcg for teens, adults 60 mcg even for women during pregnancy and 70 mcg when breastfeeding.