There is no doubt that vitamin deficiencies can cause eye problems. But do you need vitamins or supplements? This is an important question. If your diet does not contain the essential vitamins or nutrients you need every day – or if you have a diagnosed deficiency that increases your risk of illness – your doctor may recommend taking supplements. But for most people, they are not necessary for eye health. You can get the vitamins you need from your diet. And there is little evidence to link vitamin supplements to better eye health.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is essential for good vision. It is a component of the rhodopsin protein, which allows the eye to see in low light conditions. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, vitamin A deficiency can lead to night blindness. Vitamin A also supports the function of the cornea, which is the protective outer layer of the eye. A vitamin A deficient person may find that their eyes produce too little moisture to remain lubricated. Beta carotene is the main source of vitamin A in the human diet. Beta carotene is a type of plant pigment called a carotenoid that exists in many colorful fruits and vegetables. When a person consumes carotenoids, their body converts the pigments into vitamin A.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is another powerful antioxidant that helps protect against oxidative damage. Oxidative damage is a key factor in two of the most common age-related cataracts: cortical and nuclear cataracts. Cortical cataracts develop on the edges of the lens, while nuclear cataracts occur deep in its center or “core”. A 2016 longitudinal study looked at various factors that can help prevent the development of nuclear cataracts. The study involved more than 1,000 pairs of female twins. At the start of the study, the researchers measured participants’ cataracts. They then tracked each participant’s intake of vitamin C and other nutrients over 10 years. At the end of the study period, the researchers reassessed the cataracts in 324 pairs of twins. Participants who reported consuming more vitamin C showed a 33% reduction in the risk of cataract progression. They also had lighter lenses overall.

vitamins B

A study suggests that daily supplementation with a combination of vitamins B-6, B-9 and B-12 may reduce the risk of AMD. AMD is a degenerative eye disease that affects vision. However, this particular study included only women. Additional research is therefore needed to support the use of B vitamins in the prevention of AMD in women and men. An older study looked at nutrient intake and eye health in 2,900 people aged 49 to 97. The results revealed that higher intakes of protein, vitamin A and B vitamins, riboflavin, thiamin and niacin were associated with lower levels of nuclear cataracts. A national study conducted in South Korea in 2018 found a link between reduced consumption of vitamin B-3, or niacin, and glaucoma. In people with glaucoma, an accumulation of fluid in the eye puts pressure on the optic nerve. Over time, this can damage the nerve, resulting in loss of vision.

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