Eye Health: Eat Smart

By Dr S.S. Gill

Ipoh Echo’s EYE HEALTH series continues with Consultant Eye Surgeon Dr S.S. GILL talking to us on NOURISHMENT for the eyes – PART 2

Eating smart is surely the best way to nourish your body and of course your eyes too. Our eyes need vitamins and minerals to function normally. Reparative processes and growth in children depend on good nutrition with adequate vitamins and minerals. Two vitamins that are essential in a person’s diet are Vitamins A and C.

Vitamin A deficiency causes a condition called Night Blindness. Our diet has two kinds of vitamin A, that is, retinol which is also referred to as Preformed Vitamin A. The other vitamin A is known as Provitamin A of which beta carotene is the most common type. Vitamin A produces the pigments in the retina (nerve) of the eye which is responsible for promoting good vision, especially vision in low light levels.

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 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. Xerophthalmia occurs when there is a lack of vitamin A resulting in the cornea becoming very dry, leading to clouding of the front of the eye, corneal ulcers and finally vision loss.

Vitamin C is good for our whole body and particularly good for your eyes. In the eyes, vitamin C maintains connective tissue and the collagen found in the front part of the eye called the cornea.

The aqueous humour is the watery fluid that fills the space between the cornea and the iris. This aqueous humour fluid nourishes and protects the cornea and lens. This aqueous humour 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 well-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.


  • Eat a balanced diet with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables.
  • Educate yourself with information on proper diet and nutrition.
  • Avoid cigarette smoking and preserved foods.


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