As we get older, our eyes can begin to fail us, which can be incredibly frustrating for many of us.Problems of the eyes can be an incredibly complex matter, to the point where most people just accept it when their eyes begin to fail them.This doesn’t have to happen, though, and there are a lot of supplements for the eyes out there that can help you sustain, and even improve your eye health, no matter how young or old you may be. So today we decided to highlight some of the best vitamins out there, many of which are easily found and don’t require much looking.
Vitamin A is one of the most important vitamins for healthy eyes, perhaps the most important. You can find vitamin A as a supplement, but you can also easily get your share of it in your diet. Some easy foods that give you a lot of vitamin A are sweet potatoes, leafy greens like spinach or kale, pumpkins, and bell peppers to name a few. It’s actually been known, following extensive research, that getting your vitamin A from foods is actually better for your eye health than getting it from supplements, so it’s best to try and incorporate vitamin A heavy meals into your daily and weekly routines. Vitamin A is great for helping to prevent AMD, which stands for age-related macular degeneration, and affects a lot of people every year.
When there is an imbalance between antioxidants and free radicals in your body, it can result in something called oxidative stress, which strains your eyes and can lead to macular degeneration. Luckily, vitamin E does a great job at limiting the damage that free radicals do to your body as well as your eyes. Vitamin E essentially shields your body from harm, and a seven-year study even found that getting enough vitamin E into your diet can help prevent the development of cataracts and other age-related eye diseases. You can get your fill of Vitamin E by eating avocado, salmon, or cooking with oils.
Omega-3 fatty acids
A constant item on any health-related list are omega-3 fatty acids, which do a lot for your body and are considered some of the healthiest supplements you can invest in. You can also easily get the proper amount of omega-3s by just eating fatty fish like salmon, which are full of it. Studies have strongly suggested that these fatty acids are helpful in preventing dry eye disease, as omega-3s can help your tear ducts function better and create more tears.
The cell membranes of the retina also contain a lot of omega-3s, and giving your body more can help prevent diabetic retinopathy, which affects a lot of people every year. There are so many ways that omega-3 fatty acids help you, and that goes way beyond the eyes. As a result, it’s a generally good idea to stock up on them, as they can really work wonders if they are consumed regularly!
For the same reason that we suggested vitamin E, vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that can help to protect your eyes from harm. It is an extremely important vitamin for the eyes, and it can also help keep your eye structured properly. Vitamin C is a big part of our body’s ability to create collagen, which is big not just for your eyes but for your entire body in general. Collagen is a protein that helps to strengthen up the cornea and the sclera, two often overlooked parts of the eye.
While the science is still new, several observational studies done within the last eight years have shown that vitamin C can help slow or even halt the development of cataracts. One study found that people were 75% less likely to get it when taking vitamin C capsules. This is one vitamin that is best taken as a supplement, or at least equally good as getting it in your diet.
Vitamins B6, B9, and B12
B vitamins, like vitamins B6, B9, and B12, are great vitamins for healthy eyes. They help you by lowering levels of something called homocysteine, a protein in your body that isn’t the best for you. Homocysteine can cause inflammation, or at least is strongly associated with it, and it can also cause age-related degeneration of your eyes over time if it goes unchecked.
So far we have only one study done on vitamin B as a way to help out our eyes, and it was done entirely on women. The data found that the women who took 1,000 milligrams of vitamin B12 were 34% less likely to develop AMD. All B vitamins can help your eyes, and they all have slightly different effects to offer to you. In the case of vitamins B6, B9, and B12, that benefit is reducing the amount of homocysteines in your body, and to reduce inflammation which can cause dry eyes or discomfort.
Yet another B vitamin that may serve you well as a way to counter problems of the eyes is riboflavin, or B2. Riboflavin is an antioxidant, and a good one at that. It does a good job at alleviating oxidative stress throughout the body, and that definitely applies to the eyes as well. You can also count on a 31% to a 51% decrease to your risk of suffering from cataracts if you are getting the proper amount of riboflavin, research indicates.
Many foods are high in riboflavin, so you may not even really need to change up your diet all that much in order to get the right amount. Foods like oats, milk, cereal, and even beef are usually full of vitamin B2, so you probably don’t have to get a supplement for this one as it’s rare to be deficient in it. Still, though, making sure you get the right amount each day is most important, and will help alleviate that oxidative stress on your eyes as much as possible.
Lutein and zeaxanthin
Lutein and zeaxanthin are part of the carotenoid group, which are mainly found in plants. These carotenoids are associated with helping prevent injury from blue light, such as laptop screens, phones, and televisions, making them increasingly useful in the modern landscape. Both lutein and zeaxanthin help prevent dry eyes which can occur often when people spend long periods of time at a screen. These can both naturally be found in your eyes, especially your retina and macula, meaning that you should make it a priority to make sure you are getting the right amount.
If you are someone who has been diagnosed with AMD, limited studies have shown a remarkable ability by these carotenoids to slow the progression of the disease. If you don’t want to take supplements for these, you can find lutein and zeaxanthin in cooked spinach, kale, and collard greens. These are found in such large amounts in these greens that you don’t have to eat all that much to get more than enough to help your eyes out.
Not a vitamin, Zinc is actually a mineral that you can be deficient in without even knowing it. Zinc is a little different from some of the other supplements on this list, as it doesn’t help fight macular degeneration as much as it helps to shield your eyes themselves from damage. Zinc can help fight off oxidative stress that can result in issues down the line, as well as fight free radicals that might wind up accidentally getting transported into your eye. Zinc helps to shield your retina from damage, and some people also think that you can use zinc tablets to decrease your chance of suffering from AMD.
Like all B vitamins, thiamine helps decrease your chance of developing cataracts as you age, something that is incredibly valuable. A study done in Australia found that subjects that got at least the daily amount of thiamine were 40% less likely to develop cataracts. If you’re looking to get more thiamine into your diet, look into whole grains, meat and fish which are all plentiful in it and easy to introduce into your lifestyle. It can also sometimes be added to some breads, cereals, or pastas, but make sure to check ingredients first before assuming, as not all brands add thiamine.
Niacin, or Vitamin B3, is mainly used to convert food into energy, but it can also on occasion act as an antioxidant, especially if you are otherwise vitamin B deficient. Niacin has had some momentum around it in the last couple years as a way to prevent glaucoma, a condition that occurs when your optic nerve is damaged. Some testing on human subjects has begun and the research has been promising, but the bulk of it until recently was done on animals, where it did prove to be useful in preventing glaucoma.
This is an option where consuming it in your foods is preferred, as getting too much of it as a supplement can result in shaky or blurred vision. As a food, though, no evidence has shown it to have any negative side effects, and you can find niacin in beef, poultry, mushrooms, and nuts or legumes. This is a great vitamin to help fight off macular degeneration, but it’s also probably one that you don’t want to take in supplement form since it has a bit more of a risk to it.