It may seem as if our eye health is beyond our control, with some vision problems caused by factors such as genetics and injury.
However, it can also be heavily influenced by lifestyle factors such as smoking, exercise and how much screen time we get daily.
Diet is also one such factor, with certain foods known to improve or worsen eye health.
Dietary supplements too can be added to your daily routine to help protect your eyes.
An expert spoke exclusively with Express.co.uk about the best supplements available for your eyes.
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Consultant oculoplastic and ophthalmic surgeon, Doctor Elizabeth Hawkes, said: “Omega-3 is very good for your eyes and very important in your diet.”
More specifically, she recommended taking lutein and zeaxanthin supplements to protect against macular degeneration.
“Also lutein and zeaxanthin supplements, which delay the onset of macular degeneration,” she said.
Lutein and zeaxanthin belong to the xanthophyll family of carotenoids, which are pigments produced by plants.
They can be found naturally in lots of dark, leafy greens such as broccoli and spinach.
Other foods high in lutein and zeaxanthin include:
- Brussels sprouts
However, if you aren’t able to get enough through diet capsule supplements containing both are easily found in health and wellbeing stores in the UK.
What does research say?
Several studies link lutein and zeaxanthin with eye health.
One paper, published in Nutrients journal in 2022, found that supplementing lutein and zeaxanthin could help prevent a common eye condition called age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
This condition typically affects people in their 50s and 60s, damaging the middle part of their vision first. Over time it can lead to more severe vision loss.
The study said: “It appears that, in ageing retinal tissue, inhibition of endogenous antioxidant capacity, marked by a decrease in macular xanthophylls—lutein, zeaxanthin, and mesozeaxanthin—is a major contributor to AMD progression.
“The use of adjunctive therapy with carotenoid phytochemicals in clinical treatment algorithms for AMD seems to be justified.
“It has been demonstrated that adjunctive therapy with carotenoid phytochemicals not only provides neuroprotection but may also have a beneficial effect on treatment strategies at any stage of AMD, even advanced AMD.”
Symptoms of AMD can include:
- Blurred or distorted central vision
- Difficulty seeing faces or reading
- Seeing straight lines as wavy or crooked
- Objects looking smaller than normal
- Colours seeming less bright than they used to
- Seeing things that are not there (hallucinations).
If you think you have AMD you should speak to your optician or GP.
Dr Hawkes recommended other foods to aid vision. She added: “Vitamin C is also beneficial for your eyes as well as your whole body. I recommend following a Mediterranean diet, with virgin olive oil, no processed food, fresh fruit and vegetables and lots of fish.”
This story originally appeared on Express.co.uk