You’ve probably heard someone say, “Eat your carrots, they’re good for your eyes.” You may have also seen advertisements for nutritional supplements for eye health. Can vitamins and minerals benefit your eye health and vision? Keep reading to learn more about supplements and eye health.
What supplements may help my eye health?
The following supplements have been shown to be beneficial for people.
1. Lutein and Zeaxanthin
Lutein and Zeaxanthin are carotenoids. Carotenoids are pigments found in plants and in your retina. Supplementing these pigments helps increase their density in your retina. They also absorb high-energy blue and ultraviolet light that can damage your eyes.
Also found naturally in your eyes, zinc is a powerful antioxidant that protects against cell damage. When taking zinc, copper absorption is lessened. It’s recommended that zinc be combined with copper supplements.
3. Vitamin B1 (thiamine)
Vitamin B1 is essential for the health of your eyes. There’s evidence that vitamin B1, taken with other vitamins, may reduce your risk of getting cataracts. Known as one of the “anti-stress” B vitamins, vitamin B1 reduces inflammation. Initial research also indicates that it may be an effective for treating uveitis, an inflammatory eye condition that can lead to blindness.
4. Omega-3 fatty acids
The diet of most people doesn’t contain enough omega-3 fatty acids, the main source of which is fish. Photoreceptors cells in your retina contain a large quantity of omega-3 fatty acid. It’s believed that docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), a type of omega-3 fatty acid, helps in the development of retinal cells. It’s also thought to have a role in reducing inflammation and helping cells of the retina and the cornea heal and regenerate after damage due to light exposure and aging.
A number of studies indicate that people who consume more of two omega-3 fatty acids, DHA, and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), were less likely to have AMD. Low levels of omega-3 fatty acids are associated with dry eye syndrome and retinopathy, a disease that causes progressive damage to the retina. Research has also shown that infants whose formula contains DHA develop better vision than infants not given DHA.
5. Vitamin C
Several large studies show that vitamin C reduces the risk of getting some types of cataracts. Two of these studies also found that a combination of vitamins C and E supplements reduced risk for cataracts and slowed the progression of cataracts.
Do you need supplements?
Diet should always be your primary source of vitamins and minerals. However, the National Eye Institute of USA advises that all essential nutrients can’t be obtained from diet alone.
In addition to diet and supplements, there are some other things you can do at home to promote eye health:
Drink plenty of water. Although recommendations vary by weight, adults should drink, roughly, between 1.5 liters (6 ¼ cups) and 2 liters (8 1/3 cups) of fluid daily.
Keep your eyes moist with artificial tears.
Change your furnace or air conditioner filters regularly.
Avoid environments with dusty or dirty air.
Use cold compresses, cucumbers, or dampened and cooled green or black tea bags on your eyes.
This post originally appeared in Health Line.