Have you been buying eye vitamins in hopes of improving your vision? It is never a bad idea to invest in your health!
Vitamins are important for your entire body — not just for your eyes. However, there is little evidence that eye vitamins can prevent or cure eye problems.
Many vitamin supplements have been studied extensively to determine their health benefits. While some supplements do boost levels of helpful vitamins and minerals in the body, they are not a quick fix for your health.
The supplement industry is not regulated as heavily as pharmaceutical drugs are. This means that companies can carefully craft convincing claims that make their supplements sound magical. Oftentimes, these claims are exaggerated at best and dishonest at worst.
Some vitamin supplements are useful for your health, but when it comes to your eye health, not so much. Most studies find that eye vitamins help to slow the progression of eye diseases, but not to prevent them. They are not as effective as they are marketed to seem, unfortunately.
While vitamin supplements might not help to prevent eye issues, they do have some benefits for people with advanced eye diseases.
Age-related macular degeneration is the primary disease that eye vitamins appear to help with, according to recent research.
Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
AMD occurs as a person ages. Their eyesight becomes progressively worse, leading to eventual blindness.
Many complex factors contribute to a person developing AMD. As of today, there is no cure for this progressive disease.
The Vitamin Dilemma
A study conducted by the National Eye Institute found that certain vitamins reduce future vision loss by about 19%. This clinical trial studied people with AMD that were experiencing early-onset vision loss. They were treated with vitamins C and E, beta carotene, and zinc.
The experimental group that received the vitamins fared better with overall vision loss than the control group.
This prompted many supplement companies to advertise using generalized conclusions regarding vitamins for eye health. However, similar studies show no evidence for the preventative efficacy of vitamin supplements.
Maintaining Your Eye Health
The best thing you can do to keep your eyes healthy is to keep up a balanced diet and exercise routine.
Health “superfoods” such as kale, spinach, legumes, nuts, and berries will all improve your overall health. They will also help to keep your eyes in good shape.
Maintain a health-conscious lifestyle to prevent eye problems in the future. You should avoid smoking or quit if possible. Smoking can increase the risk for eye conditions like glaucoma and AMD. The best way to prevent this is to refrain from smoking completely.
You should also invest in quality eye protection. When you are out in the sun, your eyes can become damaged over time by UV rays. This can lead to cataracts and general optic nerve damage.
Limit your time spent looking at screens, too. Technology can strain your eyesight over time. Screens emit a blue light that disrupts your body’s natural rhythms and damages your eyes.
One of the best ways to care for your eye health is to schedule regular eye care appointments. Your provider can help you keep your eyes healthy and correct any vision problems you have. Ophthalmologist visits can catch degenerative eye disease before it gets worse.
Medical research is honing in on complex eye health more every day. Keep up with the latest information regarding preventative eye health. And don’t forget — take supplement companies’ advice with a grain of salt; they are ultimately selling a product.
This is not to say that vitamins are not helpful for staying in good health. However, eye disease is most often a result of genetics and lifestyle factors. There isn’t a magic pill that will prevent this.
Remember, vitamins can help, but not cure AMD. If you already have experience with AMD or other degenerative eye conditions, you are not alone. Talk to your ophthalmologist to discuss ways to improve your symptoms and protect your eye health.
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