Age-related vision changes can begin as early as age 40. These five supplements can support eye health and protect your vision at any age.
It starts with a sense that things are not as sharp as they once were when reading the fine print. This is one of the normal vision changes that happen as we age — and it can begin as early as age 40. If you are lucky, you will get away with using a pair of reading glasses. Beware, however, of other changes that may be going on with your eyes. For example, in addition to needing reading glasses, your vision in low-light may be affected, or you may notice that your night vision is not as clear as it once was.
These Changes are All Related to the Breakdown of the Eye
Vision is one of our most counted on senses. The easiest way to preserve vision as we age is to keep our eyes healthy and slow the aging process as much as possible before it progresses too far.
Age-Related Macular Degeneration, or AMD for short, is a degeneration of the macula. This portion of the eye breaks down over time and is the leading cause of age-related vision loss in Americans. The macula is the light-sensing portion of the retina that processes sharp, clear, straight-ahead vision. Symptoms of AMD include blurriness in the center field of vision and or difficulty seeing in low light. As the disease progresses, straight lines may appear crooked, or blank spots may appear.
There are three stages of AMD: Early, Intermediate, and Late. During late-stage AMD, not a lot can be done to reverse the condition, so early prevention is so important.
Five Supplements for Eye Health
Paying attention to your eyes, including getting regular exams, and maintaining eye health, is the best way to keep AMD in check. Here are five supplements for eye health commonly recommended to help keep your eyes in good shape:
1. Vitamin C for Eye Health
Vitamin C is a high-powered antioxidant that is beneficial for eye health. Several studies show that Vitamin C can help prevent the formation of cataracts. It is also important in the formation of collagen, which gives the eye structure, particularly in the cornea. Here’s Dr. Christopher Hammond, Professor of Ophthalmology at King’s College London, on a study published in the journal Ophthalmology: “While we cannot totally avoid developing cataracts, we may be able to delay their onset and keep them from worsening significantly by eating a diet rich in vitamin C.”
2. Zeaxanthin and Lutein
Zeaxanthin and Lutein are both members of the carotenoid family. The most common carotenoid is betacarotene. Carotenoids are used in the body to make vitamin A, which the retina requires to direct light and convert it into nerve impulses that are sent to the brain. Zeaxanthin and Lutein are found in the lens of the eye as well as the retina itself, where they are believed to help absorb damaging blue light.
Zinc helps deliver Vitamin A to the eye, where it is responsible for the photo-transduction cycle. High levels of Zinc are found in the macula, but this can decline with age. Several studies suggest that supplementing Zinc can help delay AMD. Beware, however, that if you are taking high levels of Zinc supplementation, you must be careful to balance your Zinc and Copper levels. Zinc and Copper imbalances have been shown to affect AMD.
4. Vitamin E
Vitamin E is an antioxidant known to fight free radicals and oxidative stress, which occur in the body and the eyes. Several studies have shown that Vitamin E helps prevent the development of age-related cataracts. It is also helpful in AMD, where one study showed that taking vitamin E and several other supplements slowed AMD progression to the next stage by 25%.
5. Fish Oil
Fish oil — specifically a component in fish oil known as DHA, or Docosahexaenoic acid — was found in a recent study to help prevent age-related vision loss. The retina contains high levels of DHA. In fact, it has the highest concentration of DHA than any other cell in the body. Ensuring there is a prevalent supply of DHA in the body is a great way to support vision health.
Cataracts are clouding on the lens of the eye. They mainly affect older people but can affect younger people too.
When light passes through the eye’s lens, a cataract can defuse the light when it hits the retina on the back of the eye. So the image your brain sees is blurry.
Vision will be cloudy and fog-like. People have trouble driving, and it’s worse at night.
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