Eye health is extremely important – if you fail to look after them you risk losing your sight. Smoking, drinking too much alcohol and not protecting your eyes from the sun can increase the risk of age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. Diet has been found to play a big part in maintaining eye health, in particular vitamin A. Not only does vitamin A promote general health, it also helps protect the eyes and it might help slow the progress of more serious eye conditions, advises Holland & Barrett.
It explains: “Vitamin A protects the surface of the eye (cornea), by lubricating the cells which is why vitamin A is often added to eye drops.”
Alongside eye health, vitamin A can also benefit bone growth, skin health and the immune system.
Luckily the vitamin can easily be obtained through diet. It’s derived from two sources – animal (known as retinol) and from fruits and vegetables (known as provitamin A carotenoids).
Animal sources of vitamin A include:
- Liver from any animal
- Cod liver oil
- Egg yolks
- Heavy cream
Fruit and vegetables sources of vitamin A include:
- Sweet potato
- Romaine lettuce
- Swiss chad
Vitamin A is also available in supplement form.
The high street health store adds: “Researchers at the national Eye Institute in the US discovered that taking high levels of a combination of nutrients (including beta-carotene which your body converts into vitamin A) and zinc can reduce the risk of developing advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD) by around 25 per cent over a six year period.”
Nutritionist for Water for Health, Rebecca Rychlik-Cunning, says vitamin D can also help boost eye health.
She said: “It can help to reduce painful dry eye symptoms, and some research has demonstrated the ability of vitamin D to help improve vision and reduce inflammation of the retina.
“Many of us don’t get enough vitamin D, particularly in the winter, so it’s vital to supplement with a good quality vitamin D3 once summer is over. Public Health England recommends adults and children over the age of one take a daily 10mcg dose of vitamin D.
“If you have any chronic health conditions that require medication, please speak to your doctor before changing your diet or taking supplements.”