Healthy Eye Nutrients – Can You Improve Your Vision Naturally?


Being able to see is probably the most useful sense in my opinion. It is the one that I would not want to lose under any circumstances and I would be willing to sacrifice any of my other four senses just to keep my eyesight. Keeping your eyes healthy and functioning properly is one facet of maintaining overall good health so it is not something to overlook.

Why Consume Healthy Eye Nutrients?

Because of the importance of maintaining my eye health, I decided to do some research on what nutrients I should take to help me do just that. And now I am going to share the findings of my research so that all of you can also take measures to keep your eyes healthy.

The following nutrients provide various benefits to eyes, including keeping eyes working properly, shielding them from damage caused by bright lights such as sunlight, and staving off illnesses that cause the deterioration of eyesight and brain function due to old age.

But first…

You should be aware of some of the most common diseases associated with your eyes. Perhaps learning about all of these will serve to motivate you to take action and consider including some of the nutrients that I am about to list in your diet.

  • Dry eye disease – This is when your eyes can no longer produce tears due to your tear ducts drying up. This disease can cause you irritation and may even impair your sight.
  • Cataracts disease – This is one that you have probably heard about before in eyeglasses commercials and other advertisements. This disease causes your eyesight to become very cloudy and blurry. This disease is mostly caused by old age and is the leading culprit behind poor vision and blindness worldwide.
  • Glaucoma – Glaucoma refers to a handful of illnesses that cause a gradual deterioration of the optic nerve. This nerve is responsible for transmitting what is seen by the eyes and relaying it to the brain. Glaucoma is another leading cause of eyesight problems and vision loss.
  • Diabetic retinopathy – As you can probably tell by the name, this disease is related to diabetes. This disease is yet another leading cause of poor eyesight and vision loss and happens when blood sugar conditions associated with diabetes impair the blood vessels that are running through the retina in your eyes.
  • Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) – Just like the other diseases on this list, age-related macular degeneration is a leading cause of vision loss in first-world countries like the United States. It is caused by damage to the macula, which is an oval-shaped pigmented area near the center of the retina, that is inflicted as we age. AMD has no cure, but it can be treated with therapy and various vitamins, some of which are on the following list of nutrients.

Your susceptibility to the above diseases is partly determined by your genetics which you really cannot do anything about. However, what you eat can also play a role in determining how susceptible you are to them, so you may want to make changes and start including some of the nutrients that I am about to share.

Let’s dive in to some nutrients that will help maintain your eye health!

#1: Vitamin C

To keep your eyes working at the highest quality, they need plenty of antioxidants. And while antioxidants are really good for most of your body, your eyes need an especially large amount of them. Vitamin C is a very vital antioxidant for your eyes, as it concentrates in the aqueous humor of the eye. No other fluid in your body has a higher concentration vitamin C than the aqueous so clearly vitamin C plays a pivotal role here.

It is not known what that pivotal role is as there have not been many studies looking into it, but its concentration is directly linked to how much vitamin C you consume in your diet. So if you have a diet lacking in vitamin C, your aqueous humor won’t have much vitamin C in it, and vice versa.

Even though scientists are not quite sure what the antioxidant vitamin C does to benefit your eyes beyond just being an antioxidant, its antioxidant status is still pretty beneficial. People who develop cataracts disease most of the time have a low concentration of antioxidants in them so you will be reducing your chances of developing the disease if you consume plenty of vitamin C.

You can get vitamin C in pretty high concentrations in fruits and veggies such as oranges, bell peppers, and broccoli.

#2: Omega-3 Fatty Acids

The omega-3 fatty acids consist of EPA and DHA and both play key roles in maintaining good eye health.

You can find a pretty high concentration of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) within the eye’s retina. It is assumed that it plays a big role in making sure your eyes function properly. In addition to that, DHA contributes heavily to the development of the brain and eyes in infants. Not having enough DHA when you are an infant can lead to poor vision.

Studies have also shown that consuming supplements with DHA and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) can help treat dry eye disease. One study found that taking the supplements over a three-month period led to a reformation of tear fluid in the previously dry tear ducts of dry eye disease sufferers.

In addition to treating dry eye disease, studies have shown that consuming the omega-3 fatty acids can help diminish your chances of developing diabetic retinopathy. Unfortunately, they have been proven ineffective in treating age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

If you want to add these helpful acids to your diet, you can start consuming oily fish or start taking fish oil supplements.

#3: Vitamin A

Not having enough vitamin A in your body is a leading cause of vision loss all around the world. This is because vitamin A plays a key role in making sure the photoreceptors in your eyes are working properly. Photoreceptors are cells in the eyes that are responsible for sensing and transmitting light.

And if you are not getting enough vitamin A, your photoreceptors will deteriorate and die and you will have problems seeing when it is dark out. This is a condition known as night blindness. A deficiency in vitamin A has also been linked to the development of dry eye disease, which isn’t any fun.

If you are looking to include more vitamin A in your diet (which you should be), you can get it from products made from animals. Some foods that are especially rich in vitamin A are eggs and dairy products such as milk and cheese.

#4: Zinc

Much like the other nutrients on this list, there is a high concentration of the nutrient zinc in our eyes. Similar to vitamin C, zinc is an antioxidant, which means it is very important for the eyes and brain. More specifically, it is believed that zinc plays a key role in forming visual pigments within your retinas. And this means that not getting enough zinc can directly cause night blindness, much like vitamin A.

Another benefit of zinc appears to be in slowing down the deterioration of the eyesight of those with age-related macular degeneration. The study that showed this link was the only one to have tested this connection so more research and studies are needed to come to an informed conclusion.

Some zinc-rich foods that you can add to your diet are meat, peanuts, and oysters.

#5: Vitamin E

Vitamin E and the aforementioned omega-3 fatty acids kind of go hand in hand. Why? They play a pivotal role in shielding the highly beneficial acids from being damaged by oxidation. And due to the high amount of DHA and EPA in your retinas, it is essential to consume enough vitamin E to maintain good eye health.

That said, if you already get an optimal amount of vitamin E in what you eat, taking vitamin E supplements aren’t known to provide any extra benefits. And what is an optimal amount of vitamin E? Well, an analysis of multiple studies concluded that an intake of over 7 milligrams of vitamin E per day can diminish your chance of developing cataracts disease by roughly six percent.

Don’t take that conclusion as gospel, though. Other studies found that taking vitamin E supplements had no effect on the development of cataracts disease.

Despite the conflicting findings, it is indisputable that vitamin E plays a key role in maintaining good eye health. You should include foods such as almonds and various vegetable oils like flaxseed oil in your diet if you want to increase your intake of vitamin E.

#6: Gamma-Linolenic Acid

Gamma-linolenic acid is a type of omega-6 fatty acid and much like the aforementioned omega-3 fatty acids, it is very beneficial for the eyes. Gamma-linolenic acid, however, is not nearly as common and is usually found in very small concentrations in a typical diet.

Gamma-linolenic differs from its family of omega-6 fatty acids because studies have found that it has the ability to reduce and prevent inflammation when consumed. Other benefits that gamma-linolenic acid provides pertain to its ability to help fight the onset of dry eye disease. One such study looked at the effect that consuming gamma-linolenic acid has on people who are suffering from dry eye disease. The findings, while promising, are not concrete in the slightest. Basically, the study consisted of giving dry eye disease sufferers evening primrose oil (which is a rich source of gamma-linolenic acid) every day for six months. When the six-month period ended, the sufferers found that their conditions got better. This was only one study though and a six-month period is quite long and the symptoms could have dissipated on their own or due to something else. More studies and research will be needed in order to prove and establish a concrete link.

That said, it can’t help to add a little bit of gamma-linolenic acid to your diet.

#7 and #8: Zeaxanthin and Lutein

I put the last two nutrients together because they are quite similar and serve similar purposes.

Zeaxanthin and lutein are antioxidants that are heavily concentrated in the aforementioned macula in the retina of the eye. These antioxidants play a very important role in protecting the retina from dangerous blue light that can damage the retinas and thus impair your vision.

As is the case with vitamin C, the more zeaxanthin and lutein you consume, the higher their concentration in your retinas will be. And since they are mostly concentrated in the macula, they also play a key role in fighting the debilitating effects of age-related macular degeneration. A team of researchers conducted a study on a group of people who were getting “up there” in age and found that the consumption of zeaxanthin and lutein actually diminished those elderly folks’ chances of developing AMD as they got even older. Additionally, the team of researchers found that the seniors who consumed a large amount of zeaxanthin and lutein had as much as a 43 percent less chance of developing age-related macular degeneration than the group of seniors who consumed a small amount of both antioxidants.

As was the case with vitamin E though, the jury is still not out on zeaxanthin and lutein. Why? Because the science surrounding these two antioxidants and their effect on AMD is conflicting. Other studies have been conducted and concluded that they only are beneficial to those who are in the late stages of AMD and do nothing for those who are just starting to develop it. We will have to wait for more studies to be done to know for sure.

It is not all bleak, though. A few other studies found some promising results which linked consuming zeaxanthin and lutein to a diminished chance of developing cataracts disease.

Another reason I put these two nutrients together is that they are often found together in the foods that are rich sources of them. Some of those foods include spinach, parsley, and kale. Not a fan of leafy greens? That’s okay! Other sources of zeaxanthin and lutein include red grapes and egg yolks, as well as sweet corn.

Healthy Eye Nutrients Conclusion

And there you have it. Now you know what foods you should include your diet if you don’t already if you want to maintain good eye health. The best part about all of this is that these nutrients are good for your entire body, not just your eyes! Make sure to keep up with other healthy lifestyle choices as well, such as exercising, to promote overall good health. Good luck!


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