Sight is the most important way we experience the world. However, inflammation, oxidation, and age can have a huge impact on the way we see the world. Never has there been a time when eye health is more important than right now. A rise in industry-related air pollution results in oxidative damage to the eye, leading to more serious problems later on. Technology such as laptops, tablets, and phones emit wavelengths of blue light, which can damage and prematurely age the eyes.
The aging process also plays a critical role in declining ocular health. Research performed by the National Eye Institute (NEI) has shown that age-related muscular degeneration (AMD), or aging of the inner eye, is the leading cause of vision loss among people age 50 and older.
All of these modern day issues can have a big impact on the muscles and tissues of the eyes, and when combined, lead to a host of ocular problems including a decrease of visual clarity, clouding of the eyes, poor night vision, and cataracts.
Eye Health Awareness and Dietary Supplements
As people focus more on healthy living and longevity, research has shown that key nutrients in food and dietary sources may benefit healthy vision and the healthy aging of the eyes. A key to any healthy lifestyle revolves around a balanced diet and proper supplementation to ensure that key nutrient levels are being achieved in the body. Most of the time, nutrient intake is inadequate to maintain proper levels for healthy vision. Additionally, research conducted by the Ocular Nutrition Society found that 70% of the current population (ages 45–65 years) ranked vision as the most important of the five senses, yet well over 50% of those surveyed were not aware of the important nutrients that play a key role in eye health.
In order to review the nutrients that are critical to the health of eyes and to support vision, let's review some critical nutrients below.
Proper intake and levels of vitamins are crucial for good health and especially important in maintaining eye support. Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E are recommended by both the National Eye Institute (NEI) and the American Optometric Association (AOA) to maintain healthy vision during aging. These vitamins play a role in antioxidant support, induced by the stress and damage caused by environmental conditions, blue light, and muscle aging. It is important to make sure that you are receiving 100% of the required daily allowance to receive the benefits of these powerful vitamins, and if not, choose a dietary supplement that is well balanced in these three vitamins.
Minerals for Eye Health
Maintaining the proper level of minerals and trace elements is important for hundreds of biological functions including the formation of proteins, muscles, and regulating cellular functions. The proper intake of magnesium, zinc, and selenium are especially important for maintaining healthy eye tissues and retina. Zinc plays an essential biological role in the transportation of vitamin A to the eye, thus promoting healthy levels of the pigment melanin, which in turn protects the eye from the sun’s powerful rays. Lack of proper levels of zinc also contribute to cloudy eyes and poor night vision.
Bilberry for Clarity of Vision and Eye Fatigue
Bilberry fruit is found in several species of shrubs native to Europe. Its small edible fruit, similar to blueberries, has been used for decades to improve night vision and visual acuity (i.e. clarity of vision). Recent research suggests that compounds in bilberry can support ocular fatigue, ocular pain, eye heaviness, and the uncomfortable sensation experienced by individuals who spend prolonged periods in front of computer and television screens.
Fish Oil and Omega 3 for Eye Health
Fish oil contains a naturally high abundance of a group of beneficial fatty acids known as Omega 3s, which are an important group of healthy fats used for numerous biological functions including eye health. The AOA, recommends that supplementation of these essential Omega 3s are required due to the low levels found in dietary sources, and to help promote visual development and reduce the degradation of the retina.
Carotenoids and Blue Light
Naturally occurring compounds known as carotenoids are predominately found in the retina which are crucial for vision. These compounds are responsible for absorbing harmful blue light emitted from electronic devices such as computers. Blue light is also responsible for disrupting our natural circadian rhythm, which regulates the sleep and wake cycle. According to AOA and NEI, carotenoids that are especially important to eye health include Lutein, Zeaxathin, and Astaxanthin.
Optimizing Vision and Eye Health
In todays evolving society with changing environmental conditions, aging, and harmful technological devices, it is more important than ever to be aware of natural compounds that support vision and eye health. Due to the fast-paced nature of our lives, poor dietary sources of critical nutrients, dietary supplements are an excellent way to support the healthy aging of eyes and protect our vision. It’s important to choose a balanced dietary supplement, such as Life Sprout Bioceutical’s Vision Rx20, to maintain the optimal health of the eyes and to support vision for healthy aging.
Author: G. Matthew Ziegler, M.S. is an industry leader in dietary supplement formulation and regulatory affairs. He has served as a Director of Research and Development in the U.S. supplement industry. He has a Masters Degree in Chemistry from the University of Toledo, and has served for over 10 years as an expert in formulation and dietary supplements.