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  • Writer's pictureVisions Optometry

Nutritional Supplements for Visual Performance and Eye Health

Did you know that there are 700 phytonutrients in nature?

These are the chemical compounds produced by plants that give them their amazing color! Phytonutrients help plants to fight off fungi, bacteria, bugs, and other threats.

In humans, phytonutrients help to boost our immune system. Phytonutrients strong antioxidants have been shown in studies to help decrease the risk of diseases - especially certain types of cancers and eye diseases!

Phytonutrients essentially fight off oxidation and other threats to the cells in our body. Of the 700 phytonutrients in nature - there are about 50 in our diet, about 20 in our bloodstream, and ONLY 3 in our eyes.

These three are Lutein, Zeaxanthin, and Meso-Zeaxanthin. Our bodies do NOT make these nutrients - they must be consumed.

Studies have shown that increasing the amount of these nutrients in our diet will help with:

  • Night vision

  • Light sensitivity

  • Glare recovery

  • Visual acuity

  • Lutein, Zeaxanthin, and Meso-Zeaxanthinidation

These nutrients are also components of the cocktail of vitamins that are used for patients with Macular Degeneration to help decrease the risk of progression of the disease or vision loss.

The way we emphasized this the most in the past was in patients with macular degeneration or a family history of macular degeneration. It is also used in athletic supplements to improve the quality and vision performance in athletes. The reality of this is that we all can use these nutrients and most of us do not get enough in our diet.

Did you know that the retina is the MOST oxygen demanding tissue in our body? Did you know that 80% of the sensory information to our brain comes from our eyes? No wonder there is such high demand for oxygen and nutrients in our eyes!

High energy wavelengths that come from the sun, our LED/fluorescent lights, and electronics also have the potential of oxidizing our retinal cells. Lutein and Zeaxanthin in the retina protect the retina by absorbing the high energy blue light that enters the eyes. These powerful antioxidants help to combat the oxidative damage that occurs as a side effect of oxygen metabolism and other processes that happen in our retina.

Since our bodies do not make these nutrients it is important to ingest these nutrients. Fruits, vegetables that are dark green, orange, yellow, and red are food items that have these nutrients. Most of us do not consume enough of these to get the amount that we need each.

This is where nutritional supplements can fill the gap. Not all supplements are the same - nutrients need to be bioavailable (make it to the retina) for them to be effective.

Talk to us about the best ways to improve visual performance through nutrition!

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