If you’d like to add an eye health supplement to your daily regimen, a trip down the vitamin aisle in your local drugstore can be a bit overwhelming. How do you know which one is right for you?
Let’s clear up the confusion. We’ll share the latest research and talk about which brands have the best scientific support.
Which vitamins can help your eyes?
Through extensive studies commissioned by the National Eye Institute, called the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS), we now have more a lot more data on the benefits of eye supplements. Thousands of people took part over a period of five years.
Based on this research and other related studies, many vitamins and nutrients likely play a role in reducing the development of aged-related eye diseases. Let’s look at what scientists believe are the top vitamins and nutrients for eye health.
Vitamin A and Beta-Carotene
The human body converts beta carotene into vitamin A. This vitamin helps to form an effective barrier to bacteria and viruses, reducing the risk of eye infections. Supplementing with vitamin A can also lower the risk of night blindness, a condition making it difficult to see clearly in dim light. Zinc is an excellent complement to vitamin A, as it helps with absorption.
Vitamin B Complex
B complex vitamins may help reduce chronic inflammation and prevent elevated levels of homocysteine in the blood. Researchers found this to be associated with vascular problems affecting the retina. B vitamins also may reduce the risk of macular degeneration and aid in the treatment of uveitis, which is a type of eye inflammation that can lead to blindness.
Some studies have discovered a link between vitamin C and the reduced risk of cataracts. The human body cannot produce or store vitamin C, so it’s especially important to consume it regularly, whether through food or supplements. You may also want to look for bioflavonoids, which appear to help the body absorb vitamin C for higher antioxidant efficiency.
Research suggests that vitamin D may reduce your risk of macular degeneration. It’s notable that vitamin D deficiency is widespread, especially during winter months in cold climates since you can absorb this vitamin through sunlight. Your doctor can test for vitamin D deficiency.
Vitamin E has been associated with reduced risk of cataracts. This is another vitamin the body cannot produce on its own, so it’s important to get foods with vitamin E in your diet or take a supplement.
Lutein and Zeaxanthin
These carotenoids and macular pigments filter harmful high-energy blue wavelengths of light. This protects and maintains healthy cells in the eyes. Research suggests they may reduce the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts.
Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids
While there’s still some debate in the eye care community, most optometrist believe that omega-3 fatty acids lower inflammation and improve tear production (lessening dry eye).
What are the best eye vitamin brands?
Naturally, it wouldn’t be practical to take individual supplements for each of these vitamins. That’s why they’ve been formulated into a single multivitamin for eye health. We recommend two brands, since they’re specifically aligned with the results of the National Eye Institute’s research.
From Bausch + Lomb
- PreserVision Eye Vitamin AREDS Formula Tablets
- PreserVision Eye Vitamin AREDS Formula Soft Gels
- PreserVision AREDS2 Formula
- ICAPS Eye Vitamin Lutein & Omega-3 Formula
- ICAPS Eye Vitamin AREDS Formula
- ICAPS Vitamin Multivitamin Formula
- ICAPS Vitamin Lutein & Zeaxanthin Formula
As with any supplement, it’s important to talk to your doctor about any drug interactions. We also recommend speaking with your optometrist or ophthalmologist before investing in one of these eye health supplements. Your eye care professional can advise which one would be provide the most benefit based on your risks, genetic background, and eye health status.
Even though supplements can likely improve your eye health over time, they’re not a substitute for a healthy diet and exercise. And don’t forget - the best way to slow the progression of degenerative eye diseases is a regular visit to your eye doctor.