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Nutrition & Eye Health

June 3, 2024

A healthy diet rich in vitamins and minerals has been shown to promote healthy eyes and lower the risk of certain eye diseases. Many of these vitamins can be found as over-the-counter supplements or consumed through a proper diet.

Vitamins A, C, and E are powerful antioxidants that help protect the retina against oxidative damage, which over time can lead to visionthreatening diseases such as macular degeneration. Vitamin C has also been shown to decrease the risk of cataracts. Colorful fruits and vegetables such as carrots, blueberries, strawberries, and goji berries are rich in antioxidants. Vitamin C is also found in oranges, grapefruit, and tomatoes. Vitamin E can be found in sweet potatoes and nuts. Fatty fish such as salmon, sardines, and mackerel contain high levels of omega3 fatty acids, such as DHA, that promote retinal development and repair.

Lutein and zeaxanthin are part of a group of antioxidants called carotenoids. Carotenoids make up the pigment found in fruits and vegetables as well as the protective pigment found in the retina. Increased intake of carotenoids has been shown to protect against cataracts, agerelated macular degeneration, and other retinal diseases. The body is unable to make carotenoids; therefore, they need to be obtained through diet. Dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale are high in lutein and zeaxanthin. Lutein can also be found in egg yolks, broccoli, and corn.

While nutritional supplements cannot prevent age-related macular degeneration (AMD), eye vitamins have been shown to slow its progression. The over-the-counter AREDS/AREDS 2 supplement is often recommended for patients with moderate to advanced AMD. In clinical trials, this formula showed no benefit to patients with early AMD or those who do not have AMD.

At your next visit, ask your eye doctor what they recommend so you can keep your eyes the healthiest they can be!

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