Vitamin A not only is beneficial to a healthy functioning ocular surface but also is required for the formation of the photoreceptor rhodopsin. This photopigment found in rod cells of the retina is especially helpful in allowing our eyes to see at night. Therefore, night blindness is often one of the first signs of vitamin A deficiency.
Vitamin A, also known as retinol, has several important functions.
helping your body's natural defense against illness and infection (the immune system) work properly
helping vision in dim light
keeping skin and the lining of some parts of the body, such as the nose, healthy
Good sources of vitamin A
Good sources of vitamin A (retinol) include:
fortified low-fat spreads
milk and yoghurt
liver and liver products such as liver pâté – this is a particularly rich source of vitamin A, so you may be at risk of having too much vitamin A if you have it more than once a week (if you're pregnant you should avoid eating liver or liver products)
You can also get vitamin A by including good sources of beta-carotene in your diet, as the body can convert this into retinol.
The main food sources of beta-carotene are:
yellow, red and green (leafy) vegetables, such as spinach, carrots, sweet potatoes and red peppers
yellow fruit, such as mango, papaya and apricots
This post originally appeared on American Optometric Association and NHS.