Vitamins for Eyes

Eyes are composed of various components which work together to produce perfect vision. Therefore, it is important to maintain the health of all of these components including the lens, cornea, iris, nerves and blood vessels. Nature has bestowed a large collection of vitamins on human kind which are found in fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, legumes as well as meat. Different vitamins play an important role in maintaining the health and function of the eye. Read on to discover information about these essential vitamins.

Vital Vitamins for Eyes

The following detailed list contains information about the vitamins which are vital to maintain the health of the eyes and prevent eye-related diseases.

Vitamins For Eyes

Vitamin A

Also known as Beta Carotene, vitamin A is at the top of the list of eye-friendly vitamins. It consists of a group of compounds which exhibit antioxidant properties. Apart from playing a role in maintaining healthy growth of bones and boosting the immune system, vitamin A also offers several benefits for the eye.

Benefits of Vitamin A

  • It is important for maintaining the external surface of the eyes which acts as a barrier against bacteria and other harmful foreign agents. In this way, vitamin A helps in preventing eye infections.
  • The vitamin protects the cornea of the eye which is vital for a healthy vision.
  • Dry eye syndrome can be treated effectively through eye drops containing vitamin A.
  • The vitamin is also effective against a medical condition known as superior limbic keratoconjunctivitis which is characterized by inflammation of the eyes.

Sources of Vitamin A

Beta Carotene is a fat soluble vitamin which can be stored in the body. It can be obtained through the following natural sources.

  • Carrots
  • Pumpkin
  • Sweet Potato
  • Spinach
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cod Liver Oil
  • Beef or Chicken Liver
  • Cheddar Cheese
  • Butter
  • Eggs

Diseases Caused by Deficiency of Vitamin A

The following diseases are caused among malnutritioned children and adults owing to a deficiency of vitamin A.

  • Blindness victimizes between 250,000 and 50,000,000 children every year living in under developed parts of the world with poor nutrition. A deficiency of the vitamin can cause the retina of the eye to be damaged which is responsible for bringing about blindness in both children as well as adults.
  • Corneal ulcer is caused when the cornea become over-dry owing to a deficiency of vitamin A. As the disease progresses, a loss of vision may occur.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is also known as ascorbic acid. With its antioxidant properties, it keeps the body healthy in many ways. Among several of its benefits are health benefits for the eyes which are discussed below along with the sources and deficiency diseases of the vitamin.

Benefits of Vitamin C

  • Ascorbic acid is important in the formation and maintenance of connective tissue which is found in various parts of the body including the eye’s cornea. A healthy cornea is important for a healthy vision.
  • Apart from promoting the health of bones and skin, vitamin C also maintains the structure and function of blood vessels. Small and fragile capillaries are also found in the retina of the eyes. Blood flow through these vessels ensures that the eyes receive essential nutrients and oxygen for their proper functioning.
  • As an antioxidant, vitamin C protects the eye against harmful free radicals and prevents early ageing which can lead to degenerative eye diseases.

Sources of Vitamin C

Nature is full of food stuff which contains ascorbic acid. The highest amount of vitamin C is found in the following substances.

  • Citrus Fruits
  • Green Chilies
  • Bell Pepper
  • Papaya
  • Strawberries
  • Broccoli
  • Apples
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Pineapple
  • Kale

Diseases Caused by Deficiency of Vitamin C

Being water soluble, ascorbic acid cannot be stored in the body. Therefore, it is important to fulfill the daily requirements of the body for vitamin C since a deficiency can cause the following medical issues.

  • Macular degeneration can occur which leads to the loss of vision.
  • Cataracts may occur which causes blurred vision and eventually lead to blindness.
  • Pre-mature ageing may occur due to free radicals which can lead to age-related loss of vision gradually.

Vitamin E

Another class of antioxidants, vitamin E performs various important functions for maintaining the health of the body. It is also an important vitamin for the eye. Its benefits and sources are discussed below.

Benefits of Vitamin E

  • Several studies have shown that vitamin E can reduce the possibility of developing cataracts.
  • It helps individuals suffering from Age Related Macular Degeneration by slowing down the progress of the condition.
  • Vitamin E is an antioxidant which slows down the process of ageing and prevents age-related eye diseases.

Sources of Vitamin E

High amounts of vitamin E are found in the following natural substances.

  • Fresh olives and olive oil
  • Almonds
  • Hazelnuts
  • Wholegrain cereals
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Avocado
  • Peanuts
  • Papaya
  • Broccoli
  • Pine Nuts

Diseases Caused by Deficiency of Vitamin E

Individuals with a deficiency of this vitamin are more prone to Age-Related Macular Degeneration. In this condition, the center of the retina is affected which gradually causes the loss of central vision. In addition, a lack of this antioxidant can make the eye – along with other parts of the body – to easily fall prey to the harmful effects of free radicals and environmental pollutants. In this way, the process of early ageing might begin leading to age-related eye diseases, such as cataracts.

In order to maintain the overall health, it is necessary to consume a well-balanced diet. Eyes are one of the most important organs of the body which are delicate and, therefore require special care. The vitamins mentioned above must be included in the diet either through natural sources or in the form of supplements. However, one must seek the help of a physician before following any particular diet plan or trying out an over-the-counter supplement.

About the Author

Posted by: M. Isaac / Senior writer

A graduate in biological sciences and a PhD scholar (NCBA&E University, Lahore), M. Isaac combines his vast experience with a keen and critical eye to create practical and inherently engaging content on the human body. His background as a researcher and instructor at a secondary school enables him to best understand the needs of the beginner level learners and the amateur readers and educate them about how their body works, and how they can adopt a healthier lifestyle.

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