Nutrition and The Eye
There has been a lot of interest in the role of nutrition and nutritional supplements, such as vitamin tablets, and their effect on vision. The main focus has been on how vitamins and minerals might affect age- related eye conditions such as age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. This information explores these issues. It also looks at the importance of good nutrition and how the eye can be affected by it.
The importance of Good Nutrition
Good nutrition is very important for both your general and eye health. Good nutrition helps our body grow, repair wear and tear, protect against infection and to function properly. An eye condition called ‘xeropthalmia’, which is a common cause of childhood blindness in developing countries, is a good example of how nutrition and eye health go hand in hand. This condition is caused by lack of vitamin A in a persons diet and could be prevented by eating fresh vegetables, fat (animal and plant) and protein (meat, eggs, fish, poultry, milk, yoghurt, dairy products, nuts, seeds, pulses and grains).
What might cause Age-related Eye Disease?
There are many causes for the various different eye conditions. Sometimes an eye condition can be related to another medical condition and some inherited. Much research is being carried out in various areas of eye health. Often there is no known cause for the development of an eye condition. This is known as ‘idiopathic’
A few possible risk factors of eye diseases are –
Age : Although it may sound obvious, age is the biggest risk factor in age-related eye disease. As we get older the changes in our body processes also affect our eyes. Oxygen is essential for the human body, but it can also be harmful. Oxygen can produce ‘free radicals’ which damage cells or prevent them from regenerating as they used to. This cell regeneration process is affected, as we get older due to free radicals and other factors. Our bodies do have a natural protection against the effect of the free radicals, but under certain conditions this protection is not good enough. Free radicals damage the retina, a light sensitive layer at the back of the eye. They also affect the lens, a clear tissue found behind the coloured part of the eye known as the iris. Te lens helps to focus light onto the retina, which then sends an image of what we are looking at to our brain. This is how we see. Mostly, these free radicals are neutralised by the body’s defences. Most vitamins and micronutrients are known as antioxidants and their role in maintaining eye health will be explored in this leaflet.
Smoking : Smoking causes harm to the tissues of the eye and exposure of cigarette smoke is strongly associated with two important age-related eye diseases: cataract and macular-degeneration (AMD). Cigarette smoking increases free radicals, which accelerate ageing and affects the body’s ability to absorb and extract necessary vitamins and minerals from food. It can also affect appetite; which may result in a poor diet. These are known to damage eye tissue and therefore can affect eye health.
Diet : A good diet, full of fresh fruit and vegetables, may help protect against macular degeneration in later life. Some studies have shown that a good diet can help in preventing AMD and age-related cataracts.
Sunlight : It has been suggested that eyes can be damaged by continuous exposure to intense sunlight. Many studies show that prolonged periods of sunlight exposure is a risk factor for the development of AMD. The sun’s rays have been linked to the development of cataracts. For this reason it is very important to reduce exposure of the eye to sunlight. Sunglasses that offer good protection from all angles are recommended. These not only protect from direct sunlight but also from scattered or reflected light that can enter the=e eye from above, the sides or below. Wearing a hat with a good brim can decrease eye exposure to light by 30-50% Sunglasses and hats are, therefore, recommended for children too. Gender There is higher rate of AMD and cataracts among women, possibly because they tend to live longer than man. There also seems to be a hormonal influence and it is reported that Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) can reduce these risks.
Vitamins and the eye
Vitamins, which contain anti-oxidants, have been linked with eye health in various studies and clinical trials. They help to maintain healthy cells and tissues in the eye.
The main focus has been on the anti-oxidant vitamins A, C and E. These vitamins can be found in many sources of fruit and vegetables such as oranges, kiwis, dried apricots, green leafy vegetables, tomatoes, peppers, carrots and spinach.
They can also be found in nuts, seeds, dairy products and eggs. These are only a few of the food types an which antioxidant vitamins can be found.
Lutein and Eye Health
More recently it has been suggested that two types of antioxidants, known as ‘carotenoids’, called Lutein (pronounced Loo-teen) and Zeaxanthin (pronounced Zay-a-za-thin) may also help with eye health.
Lutein and Zeaxanthin can be found naturally in vegetables and fruit. For example, lutein can be found in yellow peppers, mango, bilberries and green leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach, chard and broccoli. Zeaxanthin can be found in orange sweet peppers, broccoli, corn, lettuce (not iceberg) and oranges.
Once-A-Day Tablets For Healthy Eyes
Your sight is one of your most important senses. Your eye uses a very delicate mechanism to ensure that vision is transmitted correctly to the brain. Like all delicate apparatus, it needs constant care and attention.
Nutrof® Total has been specially formulated to assist you in ensuring that your eyes have the correct nutritional intake to maintain healthy eyes.’
It is essential to take the once a day, easy to swallow capsule, as it supplies to your eyes and body the essential vitamins required for strong eye health and your total body vitamin requirements.
These include antioxidant vitamins, Lutein and Zeaxanthin, Omega 3 fish oils, plus essential minerals.
Nutrof® Total’s unique formulation has been shown to help and protect your eye health.
Nutrof® Total is the leading eye nutritional in many countries across Europe including France and Spain.
If you would like more information regarding eye health and nutrition please download our booklet by clicking here.
If you would like to read more about the studies that have been done for eye health and nutrition please download the following brochure by clicking here.
1. Eat a good, balanced diet with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables.
2. Discuss taking supplements with your Optometrist.
3. The biggest avoidable risk is smoking.
4. Protect your eyes from sunlight. Use good quality sunglasses i.e. those that have the ‘CE’ mark, which means they meet the European Union Quality Standards. Wearing a brimmed hat also offers very good protection.· Get your eyes tested at least every two years and more frequently if necessary.