Should You Take Eye Health Vitamins? – Cleveland Clinic

Eye problems can stem from a variety of things and there is no doubt that vitamin deficiency can cause eye problems. You may ask yourself: do I need vitamins or supplements as a result?

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If your diet is lacking in the essential vitamins or nutrients you need every day – or if you have a deficiency diagnosed that increases your risk of disease – your doctor may recommend that you take supplements.

“But for most people, they’re not necessary for eye health,” says ophthalmologist Richard Gans, MD. “You can get the vitamins you need from your diet. And there is little evidence linking vitamin supplements to better eye health. “

There is one exception for a specific eye condition: age-related macular degeneration (AMD). If you have AMD, ask your eye doctor if supplements are appropriate.

Research has shown that people with AMD may benefit from taking specific vitamins. Another study found that taking certain vitamins in high concentrations slows the progression of this disease in a large percentage of people. However, the study notes that taking these vitamins can only slow the disease. Unfortunately, no vitamin can prevent its formation in the first place.

The National Eye Institute recently updated its guidelines for AMD in its study called AREDS 2 (Age Related Eye Disease Study) with the following recommendations:

  • 500 milligrams of vitamin C.
  • 400 IU of vitamin E.
  • 2 milligrams of copper.
  • 80 milligrams of zinc.
  • 10 milligrams of lutein.
  • 2 milligrams of zeaxanthin.

Be sure to consult your doctor before taking any supplements.

Little evidence of other links to the disease

For other eye conditions, the evidence is limited.

“Many just haven’t been evaluated as thoroughly as AMD with regards to diet and nutrition, so there isn’t a strong recommendation for taking vitamin supplements for them,” explains the Dr Gans. “When it comes to glaucoma, there is little evidence that vitamins have an impact on this condition.”

One study found that the omega-3s in fish oil supplements had no beneficial effect on dry eye and were no better than a placebo.

Get Your Vitamins Through Your Diet

In general, it’s best to eat a whole diet to make sure you don’t run out of vitamins. This is true not only for the health of your eyes, but also for your overall health.

For example, leafy green vegetables such as spinach, kale, mustard greens, and others provide many vitamins and nutrients that are good for eye health.

Likewise, if you want to increase your intake of omega-3s, you can find it in oily fish and many types of nuts and seeds. Sprinkle nuts and seeds on your salads or eat them as snacks for a quick nutrient boost.

Carrots are also rich in vitamin A, which is important in the metabolism of the retina. To reap the benefits, get your daily dose of vitamin A by snacking on carrots during your busy day.

“But beyond vitamin A, carrots don’t have any magic properties for eye health,” says Dr. Gans. “It might come as a surprise if you were told growing up that rabbits never wear glasses. “

Patricia J. Callender