Nutrition & the Eye

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Eating well is an important part of making sure your eyes are healthy.

The science

Research has shown that many things in our diet can have a major effect on how well we see, especially as we get older.

Much of our understanding comes from two large international investigations called the Age Related Eye Diseases Studies (AREDS1 and AREDS2). The results of the AREDS2 study were made public in May 2013.

Supplements

The AREDS studies show that dietary supplements can significantly reduce the severity of Age Related Maculopathy (ARM) IF treatment is started when the disease is mild. There is NO benefit if ARM is not present. In other words, supplements do not stop you getting the problem but they can reduce the visual impact if you do.

The recommended daily doses are as follows:

  • Zinc oxide 80mg
  • Copper oxide 2mg
  • Vitamin E 400IU
  • Vitamin C 500mg
  • Lutein 10mg
  • Zeaxanthin 2mg

In New Zealand these doses can be achieved by taking two tablets of Macuvision® AND one tablet of Lutein-Vision® each day.

Eating well

There is no substitute for eating healthy foods. For example, taking fish oil capsules does not reduce the risk of vision loss from ARM but eating real fish three times a week is very helpful. Make sure you eat fresh fruit and dark green leafy vegetables every day. Eat a handful of nuts once a week.

What to leave out

The AREDS2 study shows that people should not take supplements that contain beta-carotene. Not only does it not help, it reduces the absorbtion of lutein and zeaxanthin. Limit the amount of animal fat in your diet.