Like all parts of the body, our eyes require enough of the right nutrients in order to function properly. A healthy, balanced diet is usually enough to maintain good eye health, but some people may benefit from dietary supplements to help guard against eye problems. If you’re wondering whether a multivitamin or other supplement might help your eyes, however, it’s important to seek expert advice.
Vitamins for vision
Some vitamins and other nutrients are particularly important for good vision. They play a key role in eye health and help your eyes to do their job. The nutrients needed for eye health include:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
- Omega 3 fatty acids
But before you head to the health shop, remember that it’s usually possible to achieve the required intake of all of these nutritional essentials through a balanced diet alone.
Nutrition and eye conditions
Not all eye conditions are linked to nutrition, but scientists have found that in some cases, diet (and supplementation) can make a difference. Getting the right nutrients can boost your eye health and help prevent the development of conditions including:
- Age related macular degeneration (AMD). Studies show that supplements containing a particular blend of nutrients can slow the progress of AMD in those diagnosed in the early stages. Talk to your specialist to find out if these supplements could benefit you.
- Dry eyes. Supplementation with omega-3 oils such as flaxseed or fish oil can alleviate the symptoms of dry eyes, although it’s recommended that you eat plenty of oily fish as part of a healthy diet, and seek medical advice before taking supplements.
- Cataracts. Some studies seem to show that nutritional supplements may lower your risk of developing cataracts, but others maintain that a healthy diet alone can achieve the same outcome.
Supplements and genetic eye conditions
Genetic eye problems like cone-rod dystrophies and Stargardts disease can be made worse by ingesting too much Vitamin A. If you have one of these conditions, it is important not to take any supplements without checking first with your doctor.
Health conditions that may affect your eyes
In some cases, eye problems can develop as a result of conditions like having a stroke and Type 2 diabetes. These are health conditions that are more likely to develop if you are overweight, a risk factor that can be linked to a poor diet.
- Type 2 diabetes can lead to eye problems including retinopathy and macular oedema, which can cause sight loss.
- Stroke-related sight problems may include hemianopia, poor focus and vision processing problems.
Supplements aren’t the answer here, but you can improve your health before or after diagnosis by maintaining a healthy weight, controlling blood sugar levels and keeping blood pressure within healthy limits. Your diet can play a part in all of these things.
More about eye health
Want to know more about how vitamins and other nutrients can affect your eye health?