In an increasingly digital era where our eyes are subjected to prolonged screen time and environmental stressors, it’s no wonder that many people are seeking out ways to improve and preserve their vision between visits for comprehensive eye exams.
Supplements have gained popularity as a solution to improve many aspects of health and wellness, but can they also help improve vision? Vitamins and nutrients can play an important role in combating certain eye conditions and promoting healthy vision. Because of this, supplements may be a beneficial part of a holistic approach to vision care.
Can Eye Supplements Improve Vision?
While browsing the aisles of your local pharmacy, you may find yourself bombarded with a range of supplements claiming to support healthy vision, but can these products actually improve your vision? Ultimately, the effectiveness of eye supplements in improving vision is a topic that requires further research.
With that being said, several nutrients that are commonly found in these supplements, such as vitamins A, C, E, zinc, lutein, zeaxanthin, and omega-3 fatty acids, can play important roles in maintaining overall eye health. These nutrients can support various eye functions and may contribute to preventing cellular damage, reducing inflammation, and supporting the health of your retina.
AREDS & AREDS2
While there is limited scientific evidence to prove whether or not supplements can improve vision, there is ample research into how supplements may help with common age-related eye conditions impacting Americans.
Two major clinical trials, called Age-Related Eye Disease Studies or AREDS and AREDS 2, aimed to determine how vitamins can impact the progression of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
These studies helped to determine that specially formulated dietary supplements can help slow vision loss caused by AMD, a leading cause of blindness. It is important to note that while the supplements studied may help prevent vision loss, they cannot restore or improve vision.
Supplements for Healthy Vision
Eating a balanced diet full of nutrient-dense, eye-healthy foods can be a great way to promote good eye health. However, it isn’t always practical to meet all of your nutritional needs through diet alone, and in these cases, you may benefit from adding supplements to your wellness routine.
Some important vitamins and nutrients to consider are:
- Lutein and zeaxanthin
- Omega-3 fatty acids
- Vitamin C
Lutein & Zeaxanthin
Lutein and zeaxanthin are part of the carotenoid family and can naturally be found in your macula and retina, which are both essential for seeing clearly. Both lutein and zeaxanthin can be noted for their blue-light filtering and antioxidant properties.
These nutrients have also been associated with a reduced risk of AMD and cataracts and are an essential part of some supplement formulas.
Food sources of lutein and zeaxanthin include carrots, pasta, orange and yellow peppers, salmon, and eggs.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Primarily found in fish, omega-3 fatty acids have been linked to a range of health benefits, including potential protection against dry eye disease. Omega-3 fatty acids may help treat dry eyes by reducing inflammation and improving tear production.
Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in several food sources, including several varieties of fish and a few other foods, such as walnuts and flaxseed.
There is some research to suggest that vitamin C may lower the risk of developing cataracts when taken with other essential nutrients. Vitamin C is an antioxidant and may play a role in preventing the oxidative damage that contributes to developing cataracts.
Food sources of vitamin C include many fruits and vegetables, such as citrus fruits, tomatoes, and potatoes.
Zinc is an essential mineral that may play a crucial role in maintaining eye health. In addition to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, zinc aids in the metabolism of vitamin A in the retina, which is essential for maintaining healthy vision.
Zinc can be found in a variety of food sources, including red meat, shellfish, and nuts.
The Role of a Healthy Lifestyle
Vitamins can play an essential role in promoting healthy eye function and clear vision. Individuals who do not get enough of these nutrients through diet alone may benefit from taking supplements.
While eye supplements may not be a magic solution to perfect vision, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is crucial for preserving eye health.
Here are some additional factors that can play a significant role in promoting healthy vision:
- Regular Eye Exams: Scheduling regular eye exams with your eye doctor is vital for maintaining healthy vision. An eye exam can reveal essential information about both your eyes and general health.
- Protective Measures: Shielding your eyes from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays by wearing sunglasses with UV protection, utilizing computer glasses to reduce screen glare, and taking regular breaks during extended periods of screen time can all contribute to maintaining healthy vision.
- Avoiding Smoking: Smoking has been linked to an increased risk of developing several potentially vision-threatening conditions, including macular degeneration and cataracts. Quitting smoking or not starting can have a positive impact on your long-term eye health.
Your Partner for Healthy Vision
Regular eye exams are an essential part of maintaining healthy eyes and clear vision. We are here to support your eye care needs and provide guidance on everything eye-related, including the potential benefits of eye supplements.