Dry eyes are a very common condition. It is estimated that nearly 5 million people are affected by dry eyes. We’ve all heard “an apple a day will keep the doctor away” but is there anything just as simple and natural to help protect our eyes from chronic dryness? What is a good vitamin for dry eyes?
The easiest way to incorporate and absorb vitamins is through food. A Mediterranean diet has been proven effective for many eye conditions including macular degeneration and glaucoma. Saturated fats that include nuts, avocados, olive oil, and pumpkin, sesame and flax seeds are ideal for lowering cholesterol and preventing insulin resistance, a precursor to diabetes that greatly affects the eyes. Omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial for glaucoma patients because they decrease intraocular eye pressure, increase ocular blood flow and improve optic neuroprotective function. Omega-3 rich foods include fatty fish such as salmon or halibut, as well as eggs and lean meat. Omega-3 rich foods help alleviate inflammation. They ensure that enough oil is secreted into the tears by the meibomian glands, which are found in the eyelids, to prevent tears from evaporating too quickly.
Vitamin A helps protect the cornea and acts as a barrier protecting against bacteria and infection. Carrots, spinach, tomatoes and other orange and yellow fruits and vegetables that are high in vitamin A can help prevent dry eye. While not a vitamin, zinc is an effective mineral that helps the body get Vitamin A to the liver to produce melanin, the pigment the produces color in the eyes. The body does not produce zinc naturally so adding a supplement or incorporating zinc rich foods will help maintain healthy eye function. Zinc rich foods include beef, pork, salmon, yogurt, fortified cereals, milk and eggs.
Vitamin B12 supplements are water-soluble and have been known to help repair the corneal layer and surrounding nerves, reducing the burning sensation attributed to dry eye.
Vitamin C is a great option for preventing cataracts. The ascorbic acid in Vitamin C helps protect the blood vessels in the eyes thereby protecting against dry eyes.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that helps your boy absorb calcium and phosphorus. Vitamin D can easily be absorbed by the skin with sun exposure. Fatty fish, dairy, eggs and cheese are examples of Vitamin D rich foods. Dry eye symptoms may occur due to poor tear quality and tear film dysfunction, both of which are sometimes associated with Vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D foods or supplements will improve tear quality and reduce dry eye symptoms.
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that helps to protect the cells of the eye from free radicals that can break down healthy eye tissue.
Supplements alone will not cure or reduce dry eyes but incorporating these vitamins listed above, or a multi-vitamin, along with a healthy diet will help reduce the symptoms associated with temporary or chronic dry eyes. For more information, contact Eye Institute of South Jersey, P.C. at 856-205-1100 or website.