Lutein and zeaxanthin are part of the carotenoid family, a group of beneficial compounds synthesized by plants.Both of these carotenoids can be found in the macula and retina of your eyes, where they help filter potentially harmful blue light, thus protecting your eyes from damage ( Several studies suggest that these plant compounds may prevent cataracts and prevent or slow the progression of AMD ( A randomized, controlled study found potential benefits of lutein for people with cataracts. Over two years, those taking supplements containing 15 mg of lutein three times per week experienced improvements in vision ( Recommended daily intakes and safe supplemental doses have not been established for these compounds. However, up to 20 mg of lutein per day for 6 months has been used in studies without adverse effects ( Nonetheless, supplements may not be necessary. As little as 6 mg of lutein and zeaxanthin may yield benefits, and a diet rich in fruits and vegetables naturally provides this amount. Cooked spinach, kale and collard greens are particularly high in these carotenoids ( and zeaxanthin are beneficial plant compounds that may help prevent AMD and cataracts. No recommended daily intakes have been established, but a diet high in fruits and vegetables can provide plenty of these nutrients.
6. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fat. The cell membranes of your retina contain a high concentration of DHA, a particular type of omega-3 ( Besides helping form the cells of your eye, omega-3 fats have anti-inflammatory properties which may play a role in the prevention of diabetic retinopathy (DR).A review of 31 studies suggested that diets high in oily fish such as the traditional Mediterranean diet may protect against DR. Although these findings need to be corroborated with more research, they imply that fatty acids may be responsible ( Omega-3 fats may also benefit individuals with dry eye disease by helping them produce more tears. With this condition, a lack of tears causes dryness, discomfort and occasional blurry vision ( To increase omega-3 fatty acids in your diet, include rich sources such as fish, flaxseed , chia seeds, soy and nuts. Omega-3s can also be found in cooking oils such as canola and olive oil.fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties and may help prevent diabetic retinopathy (DR) when included in your diet. These fats may also aid those with dry eye disease.
7. Vitamin B1 – Thiamine
Thiamine , or vitamin B1, plays a role in proper cell function and converting food into energy ( It’s possibly effective at reducing the risk of cataracts ( An observational study in 2,900 people in Australia suggests that a diet high in thiamine reduces your risk of developing cataracts by 40%. This study also indicates that protein, vitamin A, niacin and riboflavin may protect against cataracts ( What’s more, thiamine has been proposed as a potential treatment for the early stages of DR.A clinical study found that 100 mg of thiamine taken three times daily reduced the amount of albumin in urine an indication of DR in type 2 diabetes ( Food sources of thiamine include whole grains , meat and fish. In addition, thiamine is often added to foods like breakfast cereals, bread and pasta ( high in thiamine have been associated with a reduced risk of developing cataracts. Supplements have also been proposed as a way to treat DR.The Bottom Line
Research suggests that certain vitamins and nutrients may help prevent or slow the progression of several different eye conditions.Supplements may be beneficial if you suspect you’re missing any of these vitamins in your diet.However, eating a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, protein and healthy fats will provide you with all the nutrients your eyes and the rest of your body need for optimal health.