- Eye health issues are common, especially as we age, but there are ways to fight them off.
- There are key vitamins for the eyes that will help improve eye health and vision.
- The AREDs2 Formula can help slow down vision problems and even fight them.
Our eyes are among the most important organs in our body, which is why keeping them at their best is vital. A healthy diet rich in eye vitamins and minerals is always good practice to promote eye health.
But, with so many nutrients out there, how do you know which ones to focus on to protect your vision?
In this article, we’ll focus on the most important vitamins for the eyes and find out how they help support eye health. We’ll also look at food sources rich in these vitamins for eyesight to help you make the right food choices to keep your eyes strong and healthy.
Plus, we’ll also look at the AREDS Formula and why these eye supplements may be helpful in your fight against certain eye diseases caused by aging.
7 Best Vitamins for Eyes
What vitamins do you need to ensure eye health? Check these out.
1. Vitamin A
When it comes to vitamins for eye health, perhaps one of the most popular ones is Vitamin A.
This fat-soluble vitamin is fantastic for ensuring your organs, like your heart and lungs, work properly, but it’s also very important for keeping your vision strong and maintaining a healthy immune system.
Vitamin A plays a role in producing a pigment called rhodopsin that can be found in the retina, which is necessary for us to perceive low light and to see well, even in the dark. Insufficient amounts of this vitamin for the eyes may lead to an eye disease like night blindness, one of the most adverse effects of Vitamin A deficiency.
Additionally, Vitamin A helps in eye development during the early stages of our lives, preventing childhood blindness.
Fortunately, people can get sufficient amounts of daily Vitamin A from their diet. Orange and yellow vegetables, for example, are rich in beta-carotene, a pigment found in plants.
Converting beta-carotene into Vitamin A is how your body gets most of this vitamin from your food.
Foods rich in Vitamin A include:
- Orange and yellow vegetables (carrots, squash, and sweet potatoes)
- Green leafy vegetables
- Other plant-based products
- Dairy products
- Organ meats
2. B Vitamins
Several B Vitamins like B2 (Riboflavin), B6 (Pyridoxine), B9 (Folate), and B12 (Cyanocobalamin) offer various benefits that are useful for having healthy eyes.
In particular, the combination of B6, B9, and B12 can reduce the risk of getting inflammation by lowering the level of homocysteine in your body, a protein that may be associated with it. Meanwhile, B2 helps create glutathione, a super antioxidant that can reduce or remove free radicals from your eye.
Foods rich in B Vitamins include:
- Animal liver
3. Vitamin C
One of the best eye vitamins for your eyesight is Vitamin C.
Vitamin C is water-soluble and has antioxidant properties that are essential in forming connective tissues and promoting healthy blood vessels necessary for good eye health.
Vitamin C also helps protect you from eye diseases like cataracts or cloudy lenses. That’s because Vitamin C makes up a large percentage of the fluid called aqueous humor in the outer and front parts of your eyes. Without enough Vitamin C, the eyes become predisposed to cataract formation.
Additionally, adequate amounts of Vitamin C help in the formation of collagen. This, in turn, keeps you from developing glaucoma or nerve tissue damage in your eyes later on.
Foods rich in Vitamin C include:
- Fruits like oranges, strawberries, cherries, and grapefruit
- Vegetables like green peppers, Brussels sprouts, potatoes, and tomatoes
- Grapefruit juice
4. Vitamin E
Another powerful antioxidant considered among the best vitamins for the eyes is Vitamin E.
Vitamin E may help protect your body’s cells, including those in your eyes, from free radicals. These harmful and unstable molecules can damage your body and increase your risk of catching certain diseases.
There are also some studies suggesting that Vitamin E can help the fight against developing cataracts, but more research into this is needed.
Foods rich in Vitamin E include:
- Nuts like peanuts and almonds
- Seeds like sunflower seeds
- Leafy green vegetables like spinach
- Fish like salmon
5. Lutein and Zeaxanthin
These two are considered carotenoids that give fruits and vegetables a colorful yellow-to-red appearance. Lutein and Zeaxanthin are powerful antioxidants that protect your eyes and support your overall health.
Lutein and Zeaxanthin are already found in parts of your eyes, particularly the macula, retina, and lens. Just like Vitamins C and E, Lutein, and Zeaxanthin offer protection against free radicals that can harm the cells in your eyes and body and lead to the development of life-threatening diseases.
High levels of Lutein and Zeaxanthin in your eye tissue may assist in protecting your eyes from the sun’s harmful UV rays by acting like a natural sunblock that can absorb excess energy. Moreover, they can help give you better vision even in dim lighting. That’s why they are essential for eye health.
Foods rich in Lutein and Zeaxanthin include:
- Leafy green vegetables like kale, broccoli, and spinach
- Orange and yellow peppers
- Fish like salmon
6. Omega 3 Fatty Acids
These healthy polyunsaturated fats work wonders not just for the heart and brain but also for your eyes.
Omega 3 fatty acids are essential parts of the cell membranes in your body. Two types of fatty acids that may help support your vision are docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA, and eicosapentaenoic acid, or EPA. DHA, in particular, is especially abundant in your retina and can help preserve vision.
Omega 3 fatty acids help form the cells in your eyes. They can also help relieve the chances of having high eye pressure. Without this pressure, you may have a lower risk of getting glaucoma.
Another condition that Omega 3 fatty acids can help with is dry eye disease, wherein the eyes feel itchy and burning as they don’t produce enough tears. A diet high in Omega 3 can help you produce more tears, lower your chances of suffering from dry eyes, and give you better eye health.
Foods rich in Omega 3 Fatty Acids include:
- Plant-based foods like chia seeds, flaxseeds and nuts
- Oils like olive oil and canola oil
- Marine-based foods and fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and tuna
Zinc is a mineral that plays an important function in maintaining eye health.
Parts of your eyes, like your retina and macula, have high zinc levels. Together with Vitamin A, this mineral then creates a pigment called melanin. This pigment helps protect your eyes as it acts like a natural sunblock that can absorb harmful UV rays from the sun.
Without sufficient melanin in our eyes and body, we may become more susceptible to diseases.
Foods rich in Zinc include:
- Seafood like lobster, crab, and oysters
- Seeds and whole grains
These nutrients can maintain eye health, do wonders for your vision, and prevent eye diseases if you incorporate them into a balanced diet.
Of course, if you’re having difficulty adding vitamins and minerals to your diet, each can also be taken as a dietary supplement for maintaining eye health. The best supplements make it easier to ensure you get enough of them daily.
Aging and Eye Health
As we age, all the organs in our body experience many changes – including our eyes. You may begin noticing changes in your vision, such as difficulty seeing things up close, distinguishing between colors, and requiring more time to adjust to various lighting conditions.
Moreover, your risk of developing an eye disease can increase as you age. Cataracts and glaucoma are common problems the elderly face. There’s also diabetic retinopathy that people with either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes may develop later on.
Another disorder directly associated with aging, however, is Age-related Macular Degeneration, or AMD. This condition causes damage to your macula, which is the part of your eyes that is in charge of controlling sharp vision and seeing things straight ahead.
Macular degeneration blurs your central vision, which is essential for everyday activities like driving and reading. Advanced AMD also causes you to see blurry or wavy areas and trouble seeing objects in low light.
Macular degeneration can be categorized into wet AMD and dry AMD. Wet AMD happens when the macula is damaged due to the abnormally growing blood vessels in the back of the eye. Dry AMD, meanwhile, is much more common as the thinning of the macula coincides with aging.
Dry AMD develops over time and occurs in three stages: early, intermediate, and late.
The early stage usually causes no symptoms, while intermediate AMD may either give you mild symptoms like blurry vision or some difficulty seeing in low light or cause no symptoms at all.
Late AMD is the most alarming; you may begin seeing blank spots or blurry areas in your center vision and see colors as less bright than before when you have advanced stages of age-related macular degeneration.
As aging is a natural process, it can be difficult, if not downright impossible, to fight it. As such, everyone getting on in years may eventually have an increased risk of developing health issues, particularly age-related macular degeneration.
However, to learn more about age-related macular degeneration, the National Eye Institute sponsored major clinical trials to evaluate the effects of certain nutrients on people affected by AMD.
These studies suggest that high doses of special dietary supplements known as AREDS 2 may help slow down vision loss due to macular degeneration. The AREDS formula may also help prevent intermediate macular degeneration from progressing into late AMD in one or both eyes.
These dietary supplements can also help slow the progress of AMD in one eye if you already have advanced stages of AMD in the other eye.
The vitamins for macular degeneration found in AREDS 2 are as follows:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
While the same nutrients may be found in regular multivitamins or your diet, the high concentration necessary to help the fight against AMD may not be enough. As such, taking AREDS 2 supplements with high doses of essential nutrients is vital if you want to put a stop to getting vision loss caused by AMD.
As with all medications, however, it’s best to talk to an eye doctor or a healthcare professional to see if including eye health supplements in your diet is best for your overall health.
Invest in the Right Vitamins for Eye Health
Vitamins play an important role in maintaining optimal vision. As we’ve explored the impact of key nutrients like vitamins A, C, and E and minerals such as zinc and omega-3 fatty acids, it becomes apparent that a well-rounded approach to eye care includes routine check-ups and thoughtful integration of eye-friendly vitamins into our daily routines.
While supplements can be a valuable ally, it’s essential to acknowledge that they work best with a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole foods. By embracing this holistic perspective and incorporating eye vitamins into our routine, your journey to improved eye health and better vision starts now and will last for many years to come!