7 Eye health supplements to protect your vision as you age

Have you ever considered how your nutritional habits affect your eyesight? As rates of vision impairment and age-related eye diseases continue to rise, a proactive approach could be your best defense. 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), over 2.2 billion people worldwide suffer from various degrees of vision impairment, out of which 1 billion cases could’ve been prevented with proper care and nutritional support [1]. 

It is estimated that globally only 36% of people with a distance vision impairment due to refractive error and only 17% of people with vision impairment due to cataract have received access to an appropriate intervention.

Here’s a guide to seven essential supplements that could help safeguard your vision as you age.

1. Vitamin A: The vision vitamin

Vitamin A is paramount for maintaining healthy vision. It enables the eyes to convert light into signals which are then transmitted to the brain, allowing you to see under varying lighting conditions [2]. 

Without adequate vitamin A, you might struggle more in dim lighting, a condition known as night blindness. To keep your eyes sharp, boost your intake with foods like carrots, sweet potatoes, and spinach.

2. Vitamin B: The complex benefits

The B vitamins, particularly B6, B9 (folate), and B12, play critical roles in your overall eye health. They help reduce homocysteine, a protein associated with inflammation and an increased risk of macular degeneration [3]. 

Leafy greens, eggs, and dairy products are excellent sources. Ensuring you get enough of these vitamins might help ward off some serious eye conditions.

3. Vitamin C: Antioxidant power

As a powerful antioxidant, Vitamin C helps combat the damage free radicals may cause your eyes. It’s vital in the production of collagen, a protein that provides structure to your eyes, particularly in the cornea and sclera [4]. 

Regular consumption of fruits like oranges, strawberries, and kiwis, along with vegetables like bell peppers, can bolster your eyes against degeneration.

4. Vitamin E: Your protective shield

This fat-soluble antioxidant protects certain parts of the eye, especially prone to oxidative stress, such as the retina [5]. 

Regular dietary sources of Vitamin E include nuts, seeds, and green leafy vegetables. Its antioxidant properties help ward off age-related eye damage, supporting overall eye health.

5. Lutein and Zeaxanthin: The dynamic duo

Lutein and zeaxanthin, often found in foods, are antioxidants known as carotenoids. They are concentrated in the macula, the part of the retina responsible for central vision [6]. 

These nutrients act like sunglasses by absorbing excess light energy and protecting the eyes from harmful blue light and ultraviolet light. You can find them in kale, spinach, and eggs.

6. Omega-3 fatty acids: Vision and beyond

Found abundantly in fish like salmon and sardines, omega-3s are essential for eye health. They contribute to visual development and the health of the retina located in the back of the eye [7]. 

Omega-3s also help fight inflammation, which can affect your eyesight as you age. Including fish in your diet a few times a week can provide you with these essential fats.

7. Zinc: The trace mineral booster

Zinc is a helper molecule that brings vitamin A from the liver to the retina, to produce melanin, a protective pigment in the eyes. 

This trace mineral is vital for maintaining the health of your retina and can be found in high concentrations within the eye itself [8]. Beef, pumpkin seeds, and lentils are excellent sources of zinc to help keep your eyesight razor-sharp.

Maintaining eye health as you age is more crucial than ever. Incorporating these seven supplements into your diet can help protect your vision

Remember, while supplements can help, the best approach combines a balanced diet, regular eye exams, and protective measures against excessive light exposure. Start paying attention to your eye health today; your future self will thank you.

[1] https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/blindness-and-visual-impairment
[2] https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminA-HealthProfessional/
[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2648137/
[4] https://www.naturesbest.co.uk/our-blog/the-benefits-of-antioxidants-for-eye-health/
[5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9114494/
[6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3705341/
[7] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3206354/
[8] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31148351/

Photograph: BLACKDAY/Envato
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