OCULAR Benefits of Vitamins and Micronutrients

Our Miami Beach eye specialist is an expert in ocular nutraceutical therapy. Recent scientific research suggests that using specific nutrient supplements may reduce your risk of certain ocular conditions. Specifically antioxidants have additional benefits for the eye.  Vitamin A protects against blindness and vitamin C may decrease cataract formation and oxidative ocular tissue damage

Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil and other food sources have shown great promise in promoting eye health  in a variety of ways, from reducing dry eye and macular degeneration.

A diet to promote health of your eyes should include brightly colored fruits and green leafy vegetables.

The following  nutrients have been shown to be essential for healthy vision and may protect your eyes from certain conditions and diseases.

Beta-carotene

  • Ocular benefits of beta-carotene: When taken in combination with zinc and vitamins C and E, beta-carotene may reduce the progression of macular degeneration.
  • Food sources: Carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale, butternut squash.
  • RDA: None (most supplements contain 5,000 to 25,000 IU).

Bioflavonoids (Flavonoids)

  • Ocular benefits of bioflavonoids: May protect against cataract and macular degeneration formation and progreassion.
  • Food sources: Tea, red wine, citrus fruits, bilberries, blueberries, cherries, legumes, soy products.
  • RDA: None.

Lutein and Zeaxanthin

  • Ocular benefits of lutein and zeaxanthin: May reduce cataract formation and macular degeneration progression.
  • Food sources: Spinach, kale, turnip greens, collard greens, squash.
  • RDA: None.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

  • Ocular benefits of omega 3s: May help reduce macular degeneration (AMD) and dry eyes.
  • Food sources: Certain fish such as salmon, mackerel and herring. Also fish oil supplements such as HydroEye or freshly ground flaxseeds, walnuts.
  • RDA: None; but for cardiovascular benefits, the American Heart Association recommends approximately 1,000 mg daily.

Selenium

  • Ocular benefits of selenium: When combined with carotenoids and vitamins C and E, may reduce risk of advanced AMD.
  • Food sources: Seafood (shrimp, crab, salmon, halibut), Brazil nuts, enriched noodles, brown rice.
  • RDA: 55 mcg for teens and adults (60 mcg for women during pregnancy and 70 mcg when breast-feeding).

Vitamin A

  • Ocular benefits: May protect against night blindness and dry eyes.
  • Food sources: Beef or chicken liver; eggs, butter, milk.
  • RDA: 3,000 IU for men; 2,333 IU for women (2,567 IU during pregnancy and 4,333 IU when breast-feeding).

Vitamin C

  • Ocular benefits: May reduce the develpment andprogression of cataracts and macular degeneration.
  • Food sources: Sweet peppers, kale, strawberries, broccoli, oranges, cantaloupe.
  • RDA: 90 mg for men; 70 mg for women (85 mg during pregnancy and 120 mg when breast-feeding).

Vitamin D

  • Ocular benefits: May reduce the risk of macular degeneration.
  • Food sources: Salmon, sardines, mackerel, milk; orange juice fortified with vitamin D.
  • RDA: None, but the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends 400 IU per day for infants, children and adolescents, and many experts recommend higher daily intakes for adults.
  • The best source of vitamin D is exposure to sunlight.  UV from the sun stimulates production of vitamin D in human skin, and just a few minutes of exposure to sunlight each day (without sunscreen) will insure your body is producing adequate amounts of vitamin D.

Vitamin E

  • Ocular benefits: When combined with carotenoids and vitamin C, may reduce the risk of advanced AMD.
  • Food sources: Almonds, sunflower seeds, hazelnuts.
  • RDA: 15 mg for teens and adults (15 mg for women during pregnancy and 19 mg when breast-feeding).

Zinc

  • Ocular benefits: Helps vitamin A reduce the risk of night blindness; may play a role in reducing risk of advanced AMD.
  • Food sources: Oysters, beef, Dungeness crab, turkey (dark meat).
  • RDA: 11 mg for men; 8 mg for women (11 mg during pregnancy and 12 mg when breast-feeding).

Overall our Miami Beach Optometrist recommends obtaining most nutrients through a healthy diet of omega 3 fatty acids and plenty of colorful fruits and green/leafy vegetables.

Before planning a regimen of ocular supplemenst, be sure to discuss this with our eye doctor during your comprehensive eye exam. Taking too much of certain supplements can be  problematic, especially if you are taking prescription medications for health problems.