As we grow older, our eyesight tends to degrade. This is for many reasons, and the main one is quite simply that as we age our cells accumulate damage, which results in them working less effectively. This damage is caused most often by an unhealthy lifestyle, a poor environment, or an overreacting immune system. The body is flooded with aggressive immune cells and hormones which slowly wears down the eyes. Elevated blood sugar is also to blame for a lot of eye damage which older people suffer, and if you have metabolic syndrome, diabetes, or pre-diabetes, you might want to pay close attention to your quality of vision.
But if this damage has built up over years, can we prevent it from getting worse, stop it from ruining our eyesight, or reverse it when the process has started? The answer, surprisingly, is yes. Adequate vitamin intake has long been known to improve our eyesight, no matter what our age or condition. A poor diet, on the other hand, was found in research to be the biggest risk factor for eye degeneration in older people, and their diet in their 50s was as important as their diet up until that point. That is to say, people with poor diets in their youth can protect their eyes with a better diet in their 50s and onward, and people who ate well in their youth can harm their eyes by eating badly as they age. Here are the top three vitamins for your eyes.
Carotenoids are an incredibly diverse selection of vitamins, including vitamin A, which contribute to proper eye function. Although there are 600 different carotenoids, only 20 have an impact on our eyesight, and only a few have a major impact. Lutein is an antioxidant carotenoid which is found in orange fruits and vegetables, eggs, and leafy greens. It massively reduces the risk of mascular degeneration. Zeaxanthin is the most accessible carotenoid for our macula, protecting it and preventing disorders such as cataracts or excessive light sensitivity. Vitamin A, the most popular carotenoid, is uniquely beneficial for our eyesight. It is absolutely essential for avoiding night blindness and light sensitivity, and can even pick up the slack for other essential nutrients when we do not get enough of them in our diet. Vitamin A is also essential for avoiding the nerve damage caused by diabetes, a leading cause of blindness in diabetics, pre-diabetics, and people with metabolic syndrome.
To make sure you are getting enough carotenoids, make sure to eat many yellow, orange, and red fruits and vegetables, and most carotenoids have a faint orange tone. Oranges, lemons, tomatoes, sweet potato, and carrots are all great examples.
Vitamin C is another important antioxidant for our eyes. It fights free radicals, which are the root cause of cell degeneration. But it is also key to absorbing other trace minerals and nutrients, such as iron, which results in better blood flow and a stronger immune system, both crucial components of keeping our eyes, which are open to the air, healthy. Better blood flow and stronger immune system mean we are much better able to fight debris and bacteria which regularly enter our eyes.
To get enough vitamin C, look for fruits that taste sour, or have a high acid content. Citrus fruits, as well as most berries, are very rich sources of vitamin C.
Finally, vitamin E is also crucial to eye development, especially when partnered up with vitamin C and vitamin A. It works to keep the walls of our cells strong, reverse free radical damage, and reduce inflammation. Vitamin E is also a unique antioxidant in that it is completely fat soluble yet highly powerful even when stored, meaning that when other vitamins are leaving our system because they are water soluble, like vitamin C, or becoming less effective after storage, like vitamin A, vitamin E is still going strong. It has been found that people with macular degeneration have a 25% lower risk of developing worse forms of the condition if they take a high daily dose of vitamin E. It also significantly reduces your risk of cataracts.
To make sure you are getting enough vitamin E, aim to eat plenty of enough oily, fatty plants, such as nuts and seeds and unrefined plant oils.