Why do we need eye vitamins? The main reason for this is that the eyes undergo certain changes owing to increasing age, underlying disorders and regular strain it experiences through prolonged PC screen exposure. Age related changes can result in various disorders such as glaucoma, macular degeneration, cataract, etc. Underlying disorders such as diabetes and hypertension can also have an effect on the eye function. A recent trend which affects the eye is the increased use of computers or other video devices. These gadgets strain the eye to a large extent resulting in conditions such as dry eyes.
Numerous supplements have been studied for eye care and they have been found to have beneficial effects. These effects may be through slowing down of the destructive process, preventing them or by reversing the effects to a certain extent. 1-3
Certain plant pigments known as carotenoids have been widely studied for their effect on the human eyes. Lycopene, lutein, and zeaxanthin are major carotenoids present in human blood and tissues. Numerous studies have proven that these carotenoids may provide significant protection against the damage caused by light striking the retina. Lutein and zeaxanthin especially have been shown to filter high-energy wavelengths of visible light and also act as antioxidants to protect the eye against the free radicals. 4-6
The xanthophylls is another carotenoid which may act to protect the eye from ultraviolet rays and also have antioxidant properties. An intake of lutein and zeaxanthin especially through diet has been associated with a significant reduction in the risk for cataract and age-related degeneration of the eyes. Further research studies have also suggested that dietary factors including antioxidant vitamins and xanthophylls may contribute to a reduction in the risk of the degenerative eye diseases associated with increasing age. 7
The anti-oxidant vitamins A, C and E have been implicated as protective vitamins that prevent the damage of the lens and retina either due to progressing age or it’s over use. As the vitamin intake in the middle aged and elderly individuals may be inadequate in many cases, vitamin supplementation is frequently advised. Supplementation of vitamins A and E are helpful in prevention of various eye diseases. Vitamin B has been linked to a reduced risk of cataract, while vitamin C prevents cataract formation.
Zinc may be beneficial in a condition known as macular degeneration which is generally age related. Selenium is another mineral that has an anti-oxidative properties which is beneficial for eye health. Use of selenium has been associated with a reduced risk of cataract formation and it also activates the antioxidant enzymes to prevent oxidative damage of the eyes. Other minerals including copper have also been associated with prevention of eye disorders, although to a lesser extent.
An essential fatty acid known as gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) has been found to be useful in disorders such as Sjögren’s syndrome that are frequently associated with dry eyes. GLA may also be helpful in other dry eye conditions.
Omega-3 fatty acids are considered to play an important role in retinal development. 1, 2, 8
Gingko biloba, a plant extract was found to improve the vision in some individuals suffering from normal tension glaucoma. 2
The supplementation may be highly beneficial in middle-aged and elderly individuals, while the requirement of a proper natural eye supplement is growing in the young adults.
To learn more about eye care and our recommended eye vitamin supplements, please visit Xtend Life.
1. Brown NA, et al. Nutrition supplements and the eye. Eye. 1998;12 ( Pt 1):127-33.
2. Bartlett H, Eperjesi F. An ideal ocular nutritional supplement? Ophthalmic Physiol Opt. 2004 Jul;24(4):339-49.
3. Schmidt-Erfurth U. Nutrition and retina. Dev Ophthalmol. 2005;38:120-47.
4. Roberts RL, Green J, Lewis B. Lutein and zeaxanthin in eye and skin health. Clin Dermatol. 2009;27(2):195-201.
5. Sies H, Stahl W. Non-nutritive bioactive constituents of plants: lycopene, lutein and zeaxanthin. Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 2003;73(2):95-100.
6. Stringham JM, Hammond BR Jr. Dietary lutein and zeaxanthin: possible effects on visual function. Nutr Rev. 2005;63(2):59-64.
7. Moeller SM, Jacques PF, Blumberg JB. The potential role of dietary xanthophylls in cataract and age-related macular degeneration. J Am Coll Nutr. 2000;19(5 Suppl):522S- 527S.
8. Cakiner-Egilmez T. Omega 3 fatty acids and the eye. Insight. 2008;33(4):20-25.
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