From Vitamins to Omega-3s – Eating for Healthy Eyes
Eating a balanced diet rich in nutrients is essential for maintaining healthy eyes. Nutrients like vitamins, omega-3, lutein and zeaxanthin play key roles in eye health.
Vitamin A plays an important role in helping us to see in low-light conditions. It helps our retinal cells produce a certain pigment to see the full spectrum of light. Deficiency in Vitamin A stops the production of this pigment from our retina which can lead to night blindness. Research has shown that an estimated 250,000 to 500,000 people who have Vitamin A deficiency become blind every year. Vitamin A deficiency can also cause our eyes to produce insufficient moisture to keep our eyes lubricated. Vitamin A is found in food like leafy green vegetables, egg and dairy products. Taking Vitamin A supplements can treat Vitamin A deficiency. However, an excess of Vitamin A can result in carotenemia (temporary orange discolouration of the skin) though it is not harmful.
Omega 3 fatty acids especially DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) have shown to be essential for the eye. It provides anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that protect the eye from inflammation and oxidative stress. Dye eye disorder affects the quality of life for many people. It is characterised by loss of tear firm causing disruption of ocular surface integrity. It is also commonly associated with ocular surface inflammation. Symptoms include burning, itching and a gritty feeling in the eye. The Women’s Health Study done in the United States on 32,000 women found that those who consumed more omega-3 fat from fish had a 17% lower risk of developing dry eye compared to those who consumed little to no seafood. The study concluded that a higher intake of omega-3 fatty acids like DHA was associated with a reduced risk of developing dry eye. Omega-3 supplements may help to alleviate symptoms caused by dye eye over time. However, it is important to note that the effectiveness may vary amongst individuals and results may not be immediate. In addition, lifestyle changes can also be made such as using lubricating eyedrops and managing environmental factors.
Lutein and zeaxanthin are carotenoids found in the retina. Research has shown that consuming them will provide antioxidant properties to shield the retina from oxidative stress and harmful high-energy light waves like ultraviolet rays from the sun, and also lower the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD). They can be obtained from a variety of dietary sources such as green leafy vegetables, corn, egg and papaya. Lutein and zeaxanthin supplements are sometimes recommended for individuals at risk of AMD.
Regular eye checks are crucial to maintain good eye and vision health. Eye diseases when detected early have a higher chance of cure or further deterioration.
If you are seeing a sudden increase number or size of floaters, flashes of light, sudden change in vision, persistent eye discharge, severe eye pain or you have any specific concerns about your eye health, contact us at +65 6684 1000 or email@example.com to see an ophthalmologist.