Nutrients for Eye Health

Posted on September 24, 2021

Nutrients for Eye Health

The eye is an important organ that requires different vitamins and nutrients to function properly. Here are some of the nutrients essential for healthy eyes:

Vitamin A – plays a role in maintaining a clear cornea, the outside covering of the eye.  It contributes to the maintenance of normal mucous membranes and helps maintain normal vision. It has particularly shown to help see in low light conditions. Vitamin A can naturally be found in brightly coloured foods like sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkins and bell peppers.

Vitamin E – Blue light emitted from electronic devices like tv’s, and phones can damage the eyes by oxidative processes. Vitamin E protects cells from oxidative stress and can be found from foods like nuts, seeds and cooking oils.

Vitamin C– can also protect cells from oxidative stress and is needed in the production of collagen, which forms the structure of the eye, particular the cornea and sclera.

Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) and Zinc – contributes to the maintenance of normal vision and protects cells from oxidative stress. Health authorities recommend consuming 1.1-1.3mg of riboflavin per day. Other B vitamins may also play a small role in maintaining healthy eyes but should be taken in small amounts.

Lutein and Zeaxanthin – Lutein and Zeaxanthin are found naturally in the macula and retina of the eye, where they help to filter blue light, which can be damaging to the eyes.  It acts as antioxidants against oxidative damage. Lutein and Zeaxanthin are part of the carotenoid family which means they provide natural colour to foods. They can be found in green leafy vegetables like kale, broccoli, spinach, peas, lettuce and other foods like egg yolks and orange bell peppers.

Omega-3 fatty acids – which provide the essential fatty acids EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) found in fish, flaxseed, chia seeds, soy any nuts.  DHA is concentrated in the cell membranes of the retina, keeping it moist.

The amino acid taurine, also found in the retina can also protect the eye.

Other antioxidants that can be included to protect the eye include bilberries, grape seed extract and goji berries.

As well as making sure you get the nutrients through the diet or supplements, protect your eyes by reducing exposure to blue blight, especially in the evening, where is can also affect sleep patterns. Sunlight is also considered as blue light, so make sure to wear sunglasses when out in the sun.