Vitamin A: Essential for Eye Health

Foods containing vitamin AWe all strive to eat well for optimal health and many of us choose to add supplements to our diets to ensure that all of our nutritional needs are being met. Multivitamins are the most popular supplement, used by 40% of all adults in the U.S. In fact, the word vitamin implies good health as its root vita means life. In taking a closer look at the essentials required for good eye health, one nutrient in particular stands out as one of the most critical:  Vitamin A. Vitamin A is actually comprised of a number of related compounds. The two main types are retinols and carotenoids. Retinols come from animal sources of food and are called “pre-formed,” meaning they can be used directly by the body. Carotenoids come from fruits and vegetables as “provitamin A” and are converted by the body into retinol.

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Good Nutrition for Healthy Eyes

Fresh citrus fruitsWe’ve all heard about the importance of adding lots of colorful fruits and vegetables to our diet for optimal health, but what hasn’t been highlighted in the media as much is the importance of  good nutrition for healthy eyes. Recent research has shown a direct link between good nutrition and eye health. In particular, there is evidence that some eye diseases and conditions can be prevented or their progression slowed with the addition of specific vitamins and minerals to one’s diet. In particular, macular degeneration, cataracts, and dry eye syndrome have responded to changes in nutrition.

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Vitamin C Promotes Healthy Eyes

Fresh citrus fruitsThe value of vitamin C for good health was stumbled upon centuries ago when sailors discovered that citrus fruits prevented scurvy, a disease caused by vitamin C deficiency that contributed to the deaths of an estimated 2 million sailors between the 16th and 18th centuries. Since then, vitamin C has been identified as an essential nutrient that serves many functions and is vital to good health. Recent research demonstrates that vitamin C is also one of the key nutrients that promotes and maintains eye health. [Read more…]

Free Radicals May Cause Corneal Damage in Fuch’s Dystrophy

antioxidantsAmong the most common eye health conditions that necessitate a corneal transplant is Fuch’s Dystrophy. This debilitating eye disease causes deterioration of the corneal endothelial cells. Fluid then builds up in the cornea resulting in swelling, cloudy vision, pain, and reduction in corneal transparency. [Read more…]

The Impact of Sugar Consumption on Eye Health

candyThe winter holiday season offers us many opportunities for celebration and joy. Along with festive parties and gift-exchanges come lots of wonderful holiday treats, including my favorites: sugar cookies, gingerbread, and hot chocolate stirred with a candy cane. This time of year, it can be very easy to overindulge in too many sweets. [Read more…]

Omega Fatty Acids Beneficial for Dry Eye

Omega 3 foodsWith all of the health and nutritional information available today in the media, it can be difficult to tell which recommendations are valid and what advice might apply to your personal health situation. It’s important for everyone to look critically at the science underlying each news blurb in order to determine the quality of the information. For instance, there has been a lot of focus in recent years on essential fatty acids and their impact on health, particularly for those with dry eye. [Read more…]

Eat Red, Purple, and Blue: Dietary Anthocyanin and Eye Health

I recently ran across an interesting bit of trivia:  During World War II, British Royal Air Force aviators ate billberry jam daily to improve their night vision. Although the underlying truth of this legend is murky, this interesting bit of information in conjunction with recent popular press about the health benefits of berries led me to do a bit more research on the influence of these foods on ocular health. Can the antioxidants found in berries have an impact on the eyes? [Read more…]