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Nutritional advice for eye health

Feb 08, 2022

1. Get enough antioxidants

For long-term eye health, other dietary factors also need to be considered.

The retina contains high concentrations of unsaturated fatty acids and is very sensitive to oxidative damage. Dietary antioxidants, including carotenoids, vitamin C, and vitamin E, are essential for eye health because they help prevent oxidative damage to the retina. Lutein and zeaxanthin, a class of carotenoids present in a variety of fruits and vegetables, are antioxidants that help maintain the structure and function of the eye's macula. They scavenge free radicals, absorb harmful blue light, and prevent retinal disease. Astaxanthin, a carotenoid found in salmon, shrimp, etc., inhibits retinal ganglion cell death in animal models of diabetes-related eye diseases, such as diabetic retinopathy, and it also reduces oxidative stress and biomarkers of DNA damage in the eye. 

Nutritional advice for eye health

Vitamin C can help regulate IOP by maintaining a healthy tissue called the trabecular meshwork, which plays an important role in the regulation of IOP. Vitamin E can protect retinal epithelial cells from oxidative damage and can also inhibit lipid peroxidation in the lens of the eye, dilate the terminal slightly blood vessels, improve blood circulation, and prevent myopia occurrence and progression. Fruit vegetables such as berries, citrus fruits, cauliflower, and green pepper are rich in vitamin C, and olive oil, avocado, nuts, and seeds are rich in vitamin E.

2. Avoid vitamin A deficiency

Vitamin A refers to all compounds that have biological activity as retinol, There are two major classes of substances that can provide retinol bioactivity: First referring to retinol as well as synthetic analogs with similar structures, this class is also called retinoid substances, also known as preformed vitamin A, and the main dietary sources are retinol and retinol esters contained in animal foods; The other group of substances are provitamin A procarotenoids, which refer to carotenoids derived from plant foods that can be converted in the body to produce retinol, and they are precursors of dietary retinol and mainly include β- Carotene et al.

Preformed vitamin A is an essential component of the vision-related protein rhodopsin, and deficiency of vitamin A causes dry eye disease and blindness. Vitamin A is found only in animal foods, such as fish liver oil, animal liver, eggs, and dairy products. Although carotenoids present in plant foods can also be converted to vitamin A, they have limited ability to be converted to vitamin A. Therefore, to optimize our eye health, it is essential to ingest animal foods containing preformed vitamin A.

3. Greater access to vitamin D

Vitamin D receptors are present in some structures of the eye, including the retina, retinal pigment epithelium, and choroidal vascular layer. Vitamin D interacts with these receptors to regulate the antioxidant system, inflammation, and development of new blood vessels in the eye.

Vitamin D deficiency increases the risk of age-related macular degeneration and glaucoma in adults and the risk of myopia in children. Conversely, adequate vitamin D levels help maintain healthy IOP, inhibit retinal angiogenesis (too much neovascularization is generated), and reduce ocular inflammation, promoting healthy ocular structure and function.

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