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Author: Dr. Eric Madrid

In this article:

    • Age-related macular degeneration
    • Glaucoma
    • Antioxidants
    • Cataract
    • Diabetic retinopathy
    • Dry eye syndrome
    • The influence of lifestyle on vision

Of all the five senses we cherish most vision. Eye health is very important part of the overall health of the person. Healthy eyes not only affect vision, but also to what seems to be surrounding the people and environment in General. They say that “Eyes are the mirror of the soul”. Agreeing with this statement, I would like to propose this: “the Eyes are the mirror of overall health, including heart health, brain health and sense of well-being”.

As with many other parts of the body, for eye health is affected by lifestyle, diet and exercise. There are many diseases and disorders that affect the eyes, which usually can handle the specialists in the eye such as optometrists and ophthalmologists.

Good nutrition plays a vital role in preventing many eye diseases. It is very important to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables high in antioxidants. In a number of eye diseases, in which can help correct diet and understood by modern science vitamins and minerals include:

      • age-related macular degeneration;
      • glaucoma;
      • karataka;
      • the dry eye syndrome.

Age-related macular degeneration

Macular degenerationa disease caused by degradation of the Central region of the retina. Over time this leads to deterioration of vision. The results of many studies are inclined to believe that for the prevention of macular degeneration important a healthy diet rich in antioxidants, minerals and vitamins.

According to the study from 2005, it was shown that the development of age-related macular degeneration may be associated with the use of caller inflammation of junk food, including fast food and convenience foods. As a first approximation we can say that macular degeneration is caused by inflammation and damage to eyes. The results of other studies state that high cholesterol and meat in the diet may be correlated with an increased risk of eye diseases.

Carotenoids — the type of food red, yellow and orange color that performs in the human body the role of natural antioxidants. One of the well-known carotenoids is beta-carotene. Is beta carotene color orange carrots and pumpkin, which are known to help in maintaining good vision.

It is important to note that the beneficial properties of this natural antioxidant are disclosed only after the body will process the beta carotene into vitamin A. Dietary supplements that contain vitamin a can be taken only under medical supervision; this applies particularly to pregnant women or smokers.

Lutein and zeaxanthin — two common carotenoids related to eye health. The results of various studies showed that their intake in the diet and in the form of dietary supplements can slow the development of age-related macular degeneration. Green leafy vegetables such as Kale and spinach, rich in lutein and zeaxanthin. If your diet they do not occur too often, you should think about the use of dietary supplements. The recommended dosage indicated on the package.

Zinc is a mineral which is quite a lot in the human retina; its properties as an antioxidant are responsible for enzymatic reactions, is critical to the operation of the retina. The concentration of zinc in the eye is so much higher than in other organs.

A study published in 2013 in the journal Ophthalmology, dealt with patients with macular degeneration moderate — within five years in their foods were introduced combined dietary Supplement containing zinc, vitamin C, vitamin E and beta-carotene. The researchers found that this dietary Supplement has slowed down the development of macular degeneration to severe stage.

Some studies also state that the lack of zinc in the eyes can lead to poor night vision. A lot of zinc contained in such foods as red meat, poultry, beans, nuts and seafood. Zinc can be taken as part of a multivitamin or as a dietary Supplement. The recommended dosage indicated on the package.

Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid) can also be detected throughout the volume of the retina, and studies have shown that low concentration of vitamin C in the blood increases the risk of macular degeneration and cataract formation. A study published in 2017 in the journal Diseases, touched on vitamin C and one of its results was the finding that a diet high in vitamin C can lead to a significant reduction in the risk of developing various eye diseases such as macular degeneration. Recommended dosage: 500-2000 mg per day.

Blueberries are phytonutrient that also contains flavonoids, eyesight and blood supply to the retina. Flavonoids commonly found in berries, green tea, chocolate, red wine and citrus fruit plants. Blueberries can also be consumed as a dietary Supplement. The recommended dosage indicated on the package.

Among other dietary additives that may be useful, it can be noted Ginkgo biloba, N-acetyl-L-cysteine and melatonin.


With age, the optic nerve connecting the eye to the brain gets damaged from the high “eye pressure”, this phenomenon is known as glaucoma. Advanced glaucoma can lead to the loss of peripheral vision, and then, if untreated, to blindness. According to the American Association of optometrists, glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in the United States.

Glaucoma is usually treated with prescription eye drops or surgery. Practitioners a comprehensive approach, also used in the prevention of glaucoma flavonoids due to their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties.

Antioxidants can help in the prevention and treatment of glaucoma. The study, published 2018 in the journal Acta Ophthalmologica, showed that antioxidants can improve blood flow to the retina, and this has a positive effect on patients suffering from glaucoma.

In addition, according to one study from 2015, it was concluded that antioxidants, namely flavonoids, can help suffering from glaucoma patients to improve vision, although do not reduce the eye pressure.

Ginkgo biloba containing flavonoids studied in detail in China, Germany and France. Many studies are inclined to believe that Ginkgo biloba improves circulation in the area of the optic nerve. In the study, Ginkgo biloba, conducted in 2012, was discovered by its properties such as the removal of oxidative stress, improvement of blood supply and prevention of glaucoma. The recommended dosage indicated on the package.


Practice has shown that eye health is important and useful diet with a high content of antioxidants. Oxidative stress is one of the major factors influencing the development of eye diseases and aging in General. The results of many studies have shown that antioxidants help to prevent and minimize damage to the cells and nerves of the eyes from oxidative processes. Vitamin C and vitamin E — antioxidants that can be useful. The one study from 2012 showed that eating rich in vitamins A and C fruit and vegetables reduced the risk of developing glaucoma.

Vitamin C plays an important role as tools to help reduce eye pressure, the improvement of which is a symptom of glaucoma. The results of one study from 2017 showed that people with low levels of vitamin C was observed an increased risk of glaucoma. Recommended dosage: 500-2000 mg per day.

Vitamin E is also demonstrated useful properties, but only when used with the necessary amount of other antioxidants. The study, published in 2002, 1193 person for four years daily took vitamin E but no significant positive effects from taking only vitamin E were not observed. Thus, it is important to eat balanced, including in the diet a variety of fruits and vegetables to ensure intake of different vitamins and minerals needed for eye health.


A cataract formed over time when the lens of the eye becomes cloudy. If untreated, it can lead to blindness. According to scientists, this is primarily due to oxidative processes in the lens. Excessive exposure to sunlight, Smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure, some medications, such as steroids, are risk factors of cataract development.

Antioxidants can prevent the formation of cataracts. Useful a diet high in fruits and vegetables rich in various antioxidants. Many useful plant substances, and also vitamins and minerals contained in food and dietary supplements, different antioxidant properties that help protect the eyes.

Lutein and zeaxanthin — two common carotenoids related to eye health. The study, published in 2017 in the journal Molecules, it was shown that lutein and zeaxanthin have antioxidant properties and blue light filter that may have a positive effect on the quality of vision. The antioxidants have been discovered the ability to prevent cataracts, to prevent any damage to the lens. According to the journal Molecules, intake of 6-10 mg of lutein per day reduced the likelihood that I will need surgery to treat cataracts, by 20-50%.

However, the results of most studies agree that the greatest benefit comes from the intake of lutein with zeaxanthin. Fruits and green leafy vegetables are good sources of lutein and zeaxanthin. If the diet they are not enough, you should take high quality dietary supplements. The recommended dosage indicated on the package.

Pine bark extract — pine bark Extract was originally used by the natives of North America and Asia as a medicinal remedy. In the framework published in 2017, the research conducted on animals by Dr. John. Kim, it was shown that pine bark extract is able to prevent the formation of cataracts. Recommended dosage: 50-250 mg once or twice a day.

Spirulina — Spirulina is considered a superfood. It is an easily digestible dietary Supplement that belongs to the family of blue-green algae, which can be taken in pill form or powder. Spirulina is made from the bacteria that scientists call cyanobacteria. The results of studies published in 2013 and 2014, showed that spirulina can help prevent the development of cataracts. The recommended dosage indicated on the package.

Vitamin C — Highly effective antioxidant, protecting cells from damage. The study, published in 2014 in the journal Ophthalmology, it has been shown that at elevated levels of vitamin C the probability of occurrence of cataract was reduced. Other studies have shown similar results. Recommended dosage: 500-2000 mg per day.

Multivitamin — Multivitamins contain many nutrients, including vitamin E and vitamin C. the Results of a study published in 2014 in the journal Nutrients showed that those taking the multivitamin complex, the chance of cataract development was lower by 34%. The recommended dosage indicated on the package.

Diabetic retinopathy

Diabetes, if it is not controlled, it can damage your eyes. Doctors call this damage is diabetic retinopathy. If this complication is not treated, it can lead to irreversible vision loss. Of course, to maintain eye health is extremely important to control for type II diabetes — or to facilitate it through changes in diet and lifestyle.

In 2012 in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine published a study of the influence of Lycium barbarum, the active component of Goji berries for eye health. In this study, it was shown that this component of the Goji berry could protect eyes from diabetes complications. The researchers concluded that this molecule can help with diabetes caused by damage to the eyes, which are a common cause of blindness.

A healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables, combined with regular exercise plays an important role in the control of diabetes and other common complications, common in many diabetics.

Dry eye syndrome

Dry eye syndrome (keratoconjunctivitis sicca) is called a reduced production of tears and is a common cause of visits to the eye doctor. Sometimes it can be caused by autoimmune diseases such as Sjogren’s syndrome or rheumatoid arthritis. In diabetics there is increased likelihood of dry eye syndrome. Among the symptoms may include burning sensation, itching, and foreign body in the eye.

Fish oil omega-3 — There is evidence that taking anti-inflammatory fatty acids omega-3 may alleviate the symptoms of dry eye syndrome. The study, published in 2013 in the journal Ophthalmology, it has been shown that taking 180 mg of EPA and 120 mg DHA twice a day as a whole had a positive effect on symptoms of dry eye syndrome. In the study from 2016, it was concluded that oral intake of omega-3 “significantly improved” signs and symptoms of dry eye syndrome during the twelve-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. A study of 790 patients, published in 2014 in the journal Medical Science Monitor, showed a similar result regarding the beneficial properties of these drugs. Fatty acids omega-3 can be obtained eating fish and Chia seeds — or in the form of dietary supplements like capsules of omega-3 or fish oil liquid omega-3. The recommended dosage indicated on the package.

Vitamin C, according to one study from 1980, also can have a positive effect in dry eye syndrome. Recommended dosage: 1,000 mg per day.

Vitamin B6, according to a study published in the journal Medical Hypotheses, can help to dry eye syndrome those who suffer from deficiency of vitamin B6.

The influence of lifestyle on vision

Finally, cigarette Smoking leads to many health problems. It accelerates aging and causes various chronic diseases which are often incurable. In the body accumulate high concentrations of toxins, which accelerate the further development of disturbances and/or loss of vision. For eye health is extremely important to quit Smoking.

In addition, although a limited exposure to sunlight and has health beneficial properties, such as synthesis of vitamin D, excessive sun exposure can cause eye damage. It’s important to remember about protecting the eyes from excessive exposure to sunlight. Those who spend a lot of time in the sun, it is recommended to use glasses with UV protection.


I Express my special gratitude to the bachelor of science Miriam Hernandez for assistance in the work on the materials that formed the basis of this article.

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The author of this article — doctor Eric Madrid, a member of the American Council on integrative and holistic medicine, certified American Board of family medicine and the American Council on integrative and holistic medicine. He is the author of “the purpose of the vitamin D, the healing energy of the sun.” Eric Madrid graduated from medical school at Ohio State University. He is a partner of Rancho Family Medical Group and is accepting patients in Menifee, California. More information about Dr. Madrid here.


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