By Dr S.S. Gill
Ipoh Echo’s Eye Health Series continues with Consultant Eye Surgeon Dr S.S. Gill talking to us on nutrition & vitamins for the eyes – Part 2.
Good nutrition with all the necessary vitamins and minerals are important for the eyes to function normally. It helps our bodies grow, helps in the repair process due to wear and tear and also protects against infections.
Some of the vitamins that are essential for the eyes include:
- Vitamins A, C, E, B2
- Minerals Zinc and Selenium
- Antioxidants Lutein and Zeaxanthin – known as ‘carotenoids’
- Omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA.
ANTIOXIDANT – VITAMIN A
Vitamin A is also known as retinol because it produces the pigments in the retina (nerve) of the eye. Vitamin A promotes good vision, especially in low light. A deficiency in vitamin A causes a condition called Night Blindness.
Vitamin A deficiency can also cause serious eye problems like Xerophthalmia. This is a common cause of childhood blindness in developing countries especially in Africa and Latin America. It is caused by lack of Vitamin A in the child’s diet. It is simply because the poor child does not get to eat fresh green leafy vegetables and proteins in the form of meat, eggs, cheese, fish, poultry, milk, yoghurt, dairy products, nuts and grains. Vitamin A helps the surface of the eye form an effective barrier to bacteria and viruses, thereby reducing the risk of eye infections. The lack of vitamin A causes the cornea to become very dry, leading to clouding of the front of the eye, corneal ulcers and finally vision loss.
ANTIOXIDANT – VITAMIN C
Vitamin C is good for our whole body and particularly good for your eyes. The aqueous humor is the watery fluid that fills the space between the cornea and the iris. This aqueous humor fluid nourishes and protects the cornea and lens. This aqueous humor has very high levels of Vitamin C, in fact much higher levels of Vitamin C than in our blood. So, make sure you eat diets rich in Vitamin C like citrus fruits, capsicum, broccoli and strawberries to maintain good eye health.
Generally, a good balanced diet that includes sufficient fresh fruits and vegetables should be adequate in providing all the vitamins and minerals that the eyes need in order to be healthy and function well. The problem lies in the fact that in these fast-food times, diets may lack the ingredients of a healthy meal. This is where vitamin supplements may help.
Key points to remember:
- Eat a good, balanced diet with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables.
- Educate yourself with information on proper diet and nutrition.
- Avoid smoking. A healthy lifestyle makes all the difference!