Vitamins for eye health cover many parts of the nutritional spectrum. As in providing the building blocks of life for other systems, aim to cover the eyes’ needs with a carefully selected combination of foods and supplements. Supplements help greatly since many people are not able due to their own tastes and dietary restrictions to get all of their nutritional needs from diet alone. Commonly prescribed vitamins, such as A,C,E, the thiamine component of the B vitamin family, and lutein, assist in maintaining eye health and function.
Taken together, vitamins A, C, and E are known as antioxidant vitamins, and are found naturally in many citrus products as well as in supplement form. These vitamins for eye health fight the free radical components of the environment that cause many kinds of cellular damage throughout the body. In the eyes, vitamin A makes up most of the iris’s color. Without this coloration, which can fade when enough vitamin A is not present, the eyes become vulnerable to light and very weak in the sun. This can lead to sensitivity to light, if not also blindness as the person becomes too sensitive to light.
Vitamins C and E fight off the oxidation that can cause eyes to become dry and irritated, harming the person’s ability to see. When enough free radicals enter the eye due to lack of these vitamins and cause the dryness, the eye can cease to function and make tears to flush itself the way it should and becomes very uncomfortable, sometimes needing prescription drugs.
Vitamins for eye health also include thiamine. This important member of the B vitamin family keeps nerves in general healthy and functioning. In order to keep the vision doing its job, one must support the optic nerve by taking this vitamin, either through diet or supplement. The optic nerve transmits the information about what a person sees to his or her brain, so without consuming the proper amount of thiamine to keep it healthy, one risks blindness by nerve damage. Once this damage reaches such a level, the nerve cannot be revived and the patient will be permanently blind.
Although many people are only beginning to hear of lutein, it also comprises one of the vitamins for eye health. This vitamin can commonly be provided through diet fairly easily for those who enjoy vegetables and eggs. Lutein occurs naturally in egg yolks, leeks, peas, and leafy green vegetables such as spinach, kale, and collard greens. This important nutrient helps in preventing macular degeneration, cataracts, and retinitis pigmentosa, three of the leading causes of blindness.
Vitamins for eyesight, although commonly found in many foods people eat, generally need to be consumed in higher doses for the eyes than for other organs. Thus, many people supplement their intake of these nutrients and make sure their eyes function well into the later years of life. After all, people only get one set of eyes, so consuming vitamins for eye health through a combination of diet and supplementation makes sense.