There is a strong relationship between good nutrition and healthy vision. For a long time, eye doctors are educating their patients about the benefits of nutrition to keep their eyes healthy. The eye is one of the body’s most remarkable parts that help us see the world. It is responsible for one of the five senses of the body and that is a sight.
Maintaining a healthy diet is extremely important to keep the eyes healthy and this is because nutrients protect the body from damaging substances.
The parts of the eyes must work together to create a sight and some of the main parts of eyes are as follows:
- Cornea - It is a transparent front part of the eye and contributes most of the eye’s focusing power. It allows the light to enter the eye.
- Iris - It is the colored part of the eye which regulates the amount of light entering the eye.
- Macula - It is a small and sensitive area that is located in the center of the retina and gives central vision.
- Retina - It is a light-sensitive tissue that converts light into electrical impulses which are sent to the brain through the optic nerve.
- Lens - It is the clear part of the eye that helps to focus light and an image on the retina.
Some of the important vitamins and micronutrients for healthy vision are as follows:
1. Vitamin A
Vitamin A is one of the most important vitamins required for healthy vision and eye is one of the organs that are dependent on vitamin A. vitamin A deficiency affects many vertebrate organs but the most well-known effects of a vertebrate deficiency in humans are night blindness. Nutritional blindness due to vitamin A deficiency is one of the leading cause of blindness in the world. Vitamin A is used for light sensing and it is also an important vitamin for eye development.
Retinoic acid, an acid form of vitamin A plays an essential role in the retina and eye development. In addition to sensing light for vision, vitamin A is also required to keep the cornea healthy. Without vitamin A, the cornea develops ulceration and dry cornea is also one of the causes of blindness.
Some food sources that are rich in vitamin A are:
- Beef liver
2. Vitamin E
Vitamin E is vital for human health. It plays an important role in supporting the functioning and maintaining the health of the brain, eyes, cardiovascular system, and skin. Multiple studies have investigated the role of vitamin E levels in maintaining the visual cells of the retina. They found out that lower vitamin E level in the body contributes to retinal damage and has a significant loss of photoreceptor cells.
Vitamin E also contributes to protecting rod and cones membranes. Rods and cones are two photoreceptors in the human retina. Rods are responsible for vision at low light levels but they do not mediate color vision. Whereas, cones are responsible for higher light levels and are capable of color vision. Studies indicate that an adequate amount of vitamin E in the body decreases the risk of age-related macular degeneration and cataract formation.
Some food sources that are rich in vitamin E are:
- Sunflower seeds
3. Omega 3 fatty acid
Omega 3 fatty acid has many health benefits and its role in vision protection is one of them. Omega 3 fatty acid is one of the most important required by the body to reduce the risk of developing dry eyes. Dry eyes syndrome is a common problem worldwide that reduces the working ability of an individual. Dry eyes can be caused by frequent reasons and deficiency of omega 3 fatty acid is one of the reasons. Most often, people who have dry eyes, also suffer from age-related macular degeneration and deficiency of omega 3 fatty acid is one of the main cause.
Some food sources that are rich in omega 3 fatty acid are:
- Soybean oil
- Canola oil
4. Vitamin D
Multiple studies have suggested that low vitamin D levels in the body are associated with ocular dryness and studies also suggested that there is a strong relationship between deficiency of vitamin D and development of the disease known as myopia. Myopia, also known as nearsightedness is one of the common error of the eyes which is characterized by squinting, eye strain and headache. Myopia is a vision condition in which people can see close objects clearly but they find difficulty with objects that are far. Vitamin D is also important to keep the parts of the eyes healthy.
Some food sources that are rich in vitamin D are:
- Exposure to sunlight
- Beef liver
- Egg yolk
Lutein is one of the types of carotenoids which is widely found in vegetables and is primarily found in the macula of the eyes. Reduction in levels of lutein and other carotenoid has been linked to an increased risk of posterior-segment eye diseases such as age-related macular degeneration. High plasma levels of plasma carotenoids are associated with a reduction of the age-related macular degeneration. Age-related macular degeneration is a common eye disorder that is associated with loss of vision. It causes damage to the macula that is required for sharp and central vision. Some studies suggest that supplements of lutein are often used in the treatment of age-related macular degeneration.
Some of the sources of lutein include:
- Cooked kale
- Cooked spinach
- Egg yolk