Can Supplements Improve Eye Health and Vision?
You may have heard someone say, “Eat your carrots, they are good for your eyes.” You may also have seen ads for healthy eye supplement supplements. Can vitamins and minerals benefit the health of your eyes and vision? Continue reading to learn more about supplements and eye health.
What science says
Many claims have been made regarding the beneficial effects of supplements on vision and eye health, but very few research studies support these claims. Another exception is Age-Related Eye Disease Studies (AREDS and AREDS2). These are major studies conducted by the National Eye Institute. Results from AREDS 2 were based on what was learned from AREDS and developed additional recommendations.
The study focuses on two conditions that affect millions of Americans, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and eye disease.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
AMD is a leading cause of vision loss in the United States. It affects more than 10 million people. It is strongly associated with aging, but some forms of macular degeneration also affect young people.
AMD occurs when there is damage to light-sensitive cells in the macula area of the retina. This is the part of the eye that is responsible for:
- recording what we see and sending information to our brain
- to see good details
- to focus
A cataract is a blurring of the lens of the eye. It can impair your ability to see well enough to do daily activities and can worsen over time.
A cataract is very common, especially in adults. In 2010, 24.4 million faithful Americans were diagnosed with cataracts.
AREDS and AREDS2 are looking at the effects of high doses of several antioxidants taken together for several years. The final recommendations from AREDS2 were:
|vitamin C||500 mg|
|vitamin E||400 IU|
|copper||2 mg (taken to prevent copper deficiency caused by zinc)|
Participants in the AREDS2 study took one of four formulations of additives identified as potentially beneficial to the AREDS study. Each participant took the supplement daily for five years.
For study participants, the risk of AMD and severe vision loss was reduced by 25 percent Reliable Source over six years. For people with AMD, the condition is reduced only for people with moderate AMD. The supplements did not work well for people with milder or more advanced stages.
Additionally, the supplements used in the study did not prevent AMD or restore vision loss.
The study was promising and found that there are certain benefits to certain supplements, but they will not have beneficial effects on everyone.
What supplements can help my eye health?
The following ingredients, including the antioxidants found in AREDS2 capsules, are beneficial for some people.
1. Lutein and zeaxanthin
Lutein and Zeaxanthin are carotenoids. Carotenoid pigments are found in plants and your retina. Adding these colors helps to increase their density in your retina. They also absorb high blue light and ultraviolet light which can damage your eyes.
Also naturally found in your eyes, zinc is a powerful antioxidant that protects cells from damage. Zinc is a key mineral in the formation of AREDS2. When you take zinc, the absorption of copper decreases. It is recommended that zinc be mixed with copper ingredients.
3. Vitamin B1 (thiamine)
Vitamin B1 is essential for the health of your eyes. There is evidence that vitamin B1, taken with other vitamins, may reduce the risk of cataracts, but further research is needed.
Known as one of the “anti-stress” vitamins B, vitamin B1 reduces inflammation.
Preliminary study Trusted Source also suggests that it may be effective in treating uveitis, an inflammatory eye disease that can lead to blindness.
4. Omega-3 fatty acids
The diet of most Americans does not contain enough omega-3 fatty acids, its main source of fish. Photoreceptors cells in your retina contain a large amount of omega-3 fatty acids.
A few studies A reliable source shows that people who eat more than two omega-3 fatty acids, DHA, and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), are less likely to develop AMD.
5. Vitamin C
Numerous studies show that vitamin C reduces the risk of cataracts. Two of these studies also found that a combination of vitamins C and E reduced the risk of eye disease and delayed cataract progression.
Do you need supplements?
Food should always be your main source of vitamins and minerals.
In addition to food and dietary supplements, there are other things you can do at home to promote eye health:
- Use a humidifier in your home when your house is dry. You may need to use it only for seasons, or you may need to use it year-round, depending on the weather in your area.
- Drink plenty of water. Although recommendations vary in weight, adults should drink, approximately, 1.5 liters (6 ¼ cups) and 2 liters (8 1/3 cups) of liquid daily.
- Keep your eyes wet with artificial tears.
- Change your furnace or air conditioner filters regularly.
- Avoid dusty or polluted areas.
- Use cold compresses, cucumbers, or wet and cool green or black tea bags on your eyes. Some people prefer calendula tea.
When should you see your doctor?
Consult your eye doctor before taking AREDS2. An eye doctor is an eye specialist. Your doctor will be able to determine if the supplements will work, depending on your eye condition.
Can I use supplements to improve the health of my eyes?
Your eyesight and vision are influenced by many factors, including genetics and age. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and eating a balanced diet consisting of antioxidant-rich foods can have a profound effect on your eye health.
Tips on eye health
There are many things you can do to improve your eye health.
- Do not smoke. Smoking damages the blood vessels in the eyes and may cause cataracts, macular degeneration, and other eye problems.
- Protect your eyes from ultraviolet light. Wear sunglasses when you are outdoors and avoid glaring at the bright light.
- Maintain a healthy weight and active lifestyle.
- After 60 years, get an additional eye examination each year.
- Make sure your diet includes plenty of green leafy vegetables, spinach, corn, oranges, eggs, yellow carrots.
- These foods contain high levels of nutrients, including those found in the production of AREDS2.
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