Vitamins for the eyes - Vitamin E

Vitamin E is the collective name for a group of eight fat-soluble compounds with distinctive antioxidant activities that help protect the membranes of cells and reduce the oxidation of the bad cholesterol (LDL). Vitamin E is necessary for structural and functional maintenance of skeletal, cardiac, and smooth muscle. It also assists in the formation of red blood cells and helps maintain stores of vitamins A and K, iron, and selenium. It may have a positive effect on immune health, protect against the oxidative damage that can lead to heart disease, have preventive effects against cancer, help relieve symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, and may help prevent some diabetes-related damage, particularly to the eyes. Some studies suggest that vitamin E helps to possibly prevent cataracts, and it might be yet another factor in preventing macular degeneration (AMD). Vitamin E deficiency causes such problems as poor transmission of nerve impulses, muscle weakness, and retinal degeneration that leads to blindness. This vitamin is found mainly in foods that contain fat like margarine, vegetable oil, wheat germ, nuts, nut butters, and seeds.

Vitamins for the eyes - Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is naturally present in very few foods and can be made in our body when exposed to the sunrays. Among older Americans, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of vision loss, with more than 25 million people worldwide suffering from it. AMD occurs when part of the retina deteriorates. Because AMD affects the central portion of vision, it impacts daily activities like driving, reading and doing close work. People with early AMD are associated with lower levels of vitamin D in their blood. Including vitamin D in your lifestyle can help keep you from being a part of this affected group.While there’s no substitute for vitamin D obtained through sunlight, you can get vitamin D through a variety of foods including milk, cold-water fish such as red sockeye salmon, sardines or cod liver oil and other foods containing essential fatty acids, as well as nutritional supplements. Omega-3 is the most well known essential fatty acid, which can be found in avocado, salmon, tuna and dark leafy vegetables.

Vitamins for the eyes - Vitamin C

Vitamin C (also known as ascorbic acid) is a water-soluble vitamin abundant in fruits and vegetables, vitamin C helps the body form and maintain connective tissue, which also exists in the cornea of the eye. Vitamin C also promotes healthy bones, skin and blood vessels, including the delicate vessels in the retina. Studies suggest long-term consumption of vitamin C also may reduce the risk of forming a cataract and vision loss from macular degeneration. Unlike most animals, humans are unable to produce vitamin C in the body. So we must get our daily dose of ascorbic acid from our diet. A diet deficient in vitamin C can lead to a serious disease scurvy which causes muscle weakness among other problems. Excellent natural sources of vitamin C include peppers, citrus fruits, berries, tropical fruits, potatoes, tomatoes and green leafy vegetables.

Vitamins for the eyes - Vitamin B

B vitamins are a group of water-soluble vitamins that play important roles in cell metabolism. A deficiency in B-2 might also result in eye problems such as redness and irritation. You might also experience eye fatigue and light sensitivity. Vitamin B-2 might also help prevent cataracts, an eye condition that gradually affects the clarity of the lens inside the eye, resulting in cloudy vision. A deficiency in vitamin B-1, also known as thiamine, might cause eye muscle weakness and uncontrollable trembling. In rare instances, a deficiency in vitamin B-12 might also result in eye movement disorders. Vitamin B-12 is a nutrient found in many animal-based foods, and people who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet have a higher risk for a deficiency. If you have low levels of vitamin B-12, you might experience loss of vision or double vision as a result of inadequate intake. B vitamins can be found in a variety of foods such as meat, soy beverages, grains and vegetables and fruits.

Vitamins for the eyes - Vitamin A

Vitamin A actually is a group of compounds that play an important role in vision, bone growth and health of the immune system. Vitamin A also causes the surface of the eye and skin to be effective barriers to bacteria and viruses, reducing the risk of eye infections, respiratory problems and other infectious diseases. A lack of vitamin A causes the cornea to become very dry, leading to clouding of the front of the eye and vision loss. Vitamin A deficiency also causes damage to the retina, which also contributes to blindness. Good sources of vitamin A are milk, eggs, liver, cereals, darkly colored orange or green vegetables (such as carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, and kale), and orange fruits such as cantaloupe, apricots, peaches, papayas, and mangos

Eye diseases common in children

There are many eye conditions and diseases that can affect a child’s vision and influence every aspect of his or her life. Two of the most common eye problems in children are amblyopia and strabismus. Amblyopia is a vision development disorder caused by one eye not being able to see as well as the other. The brain sees two different pictures that it can't combine in a meaningful way, so it ignores the image from the weaker eye and chooses to interpret only the image sent by the stronger eye. The result is that the eye that isn't seeing well will not develop properly. More common in preschoolers is a problem with eye muscles called strabismus. In this condition eyes are unable to focus both eyes in the same direction accurately, which makes the eye appear lazy. If it is not treated, strabismus can also cause amblyopia.

Eye diseases common in seniors

Vision loss among the elderly is a major health care problem especially by the age of 65. The most common causes of vision loss among the elderly are age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataract and diabetic retinopathy. Age-related macular degeneration is characterized by the loss of central vision. Glaucoma results in optic nerve damage and visual field loss. Because this condition may not have any symptoms initially, regular screening examinations are recommended for elderly patients. Cataract is a common cause of vision impairment among the elderly, but surgery is often effective in restoring vision. Diabetic retinopathy may be observed in the elderly at the time of diagnosis or during the first few years of diabetes. Patients should undergo eye examinations with dilation when diabetes is diagnosed and annually thereafter
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