Research has shown that diet and nutrition play a role in promoting and maintaining good eye health. These studies have shown how vitamins and minerals, from foods and supplements can not only assist in eye health generally, but may assist with prevention or slowing of macular degeneration and cataracts. It should be said however, that there have been some studies that contradict this and as such indicate the need for further research.
A healthy diet containing natural antioxidants has been shown to be beneficial. Leafy green vegetables such as spinach and kale are recommended by the Macular Degeneration Foundation as important in reducing the risks associated with a modern western diet. Vitamins A, C and E that occur naturally in fresh fruits such as oranges, omega 3 oils found in fish, nuts and eggs have also been shown to have a protective effect on ocular health.
There are a number of supplements that promote eye health where there is evidence of a diet lacking in natural vitamins from fruit and vegetables.
Supplements such as Lutein and Zeaxanthin are thought to be protective of the macula (the sensitive central retina) by acting as a filter against ultra violet light.
Blackmore’s Luteinvision, Ocuvite, Lutein Vision Advanced and Macuvision have been recommended by the Age Related Eye Disease Study where diets are low in natural vitamins from fruits and vegetables. Expert opinion is that with a healthy balanced diet that includes sufficient fresh fruit and vegetables, there should be no need to use supplements. However, other research has shown that many people don’t obtain enough vitamins and minerals from their diet alone.
You should consider taking a supplement if:
- Your diet doesn’t include enough fresh fruit and vegetables
- Your diet doesn’t include foods with sufficient vitamins and minerals
- Vitamins and minerals aren’t adequately absorbed by your body
- You have been advised by your doctor to take a supplement
HCF Eyecare Optometrists can advise you on the appropriate dietary supplements for your eye health. Consultation with your doctor is recommended if you take other medications.