You’ve probably heard someone say, “Eat your carrots, they’re good for your eyes.” You may have also seen advertisements for nutritional supplements for eye health.
What minerals and vitamins benefit your eyes most?
A few nutrients can help maintain eye function, protect against harmful light and reduce the development of age-related degenerative diseases of the eye.
But more research is needed to help eye care professionals advise patients on whether they should regularly take a supplement.
“In most cases, these studies are of short duration and are too variable for us to make any solid conclusions,” says Adrienne West, M.D., a comprehensive ophthalmologist at the University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center.
Paula Anne Newman-Casey, M.D., a Kellogg glaucoma specialist, says studies also need to be thorough and include comparisons between those who take eye supplements and those who don’t.
While few studies support positive claims about supplements, the age-related eye disease study (AREDS) is an exception. The research showed a group getting a specialized blend of vitamin and mineral supplements had a 25 percent lower risk of worsening of age-related macular degeneration.
An eye doctor can determine if AREDS supplements, a combination of vitamins C and E, lutein, zeaxanthin, copper and zinc, will be effective, given the status of your eye health.
But the promising study, conducted in the 1990s, sparked interest in the use of supplements for protecting eyesight.
Kellogg ophthalmologists discuss which vitamins and supplements could help keep your eyes in check.