It happens to the best of us. Our eyesight gets worse with age. And most of us just accept it without knowing why it’s happening.
It turns out it’s not just one thing that causes age-related vision loss. A few different changes contribute to fading eyesight.
As they age, the lenses of our eyes become less flexible. This makes focusing on nearby objects difficult. When you’re unable to read the instructions on a pill bottle this lack of flexibility is often the cause.
A lifetime of exposure to ultraviolet light, wind and dust causes our lenses to yellow too. Plus they also become denser, which makes seeing things in low light situations more difficult. Out for a romantic dinner and can’t read the menu in the candlelight? Dense lenses may be to blame.
We also start to lose nerve cells in your eyes which effects our depth perception. And our eyes stop producing as much liquid leaving us with dry eyes.
And if you feel like being sunblind when you step inside a darkened room… or having a tough time driving at dusk or dawn… have become the new normal you might be right. Because our pupils start to take longer to adjust to changes in the light as we get older.
But here’s the thing. While you can’t stop your eyes from aging, of course, you can give them an extra layer of protection with supplements. And that protection can guard against some of the age-related changes most of us typically just shrug and accept.
Slowing and even stopping the decline is just the start, however. In some cases, you may even be able to enhance or improve your sight.
Top 5 vision friendly nutrients to help protect eyes
Don’t just sit back and watch your vision fade away. Protect your precious eyesight with these five eye-supporting supplements…
Lutein and zeaxanthin:
Take a stroll through the produce department. All the bright orange and red fruits and veggies… and some of the deep green and purple ones too… share something in common. They contain two powerful carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin, that your eyes adore.
The retinas in your eyes also naturally contain both of these nutrients. There they act sort of like an internal pair of sunglasses. They help block out damaging ultraviolet light and may help protect eyes against vision loss, macular degeneration and cataracts.
One Harvard study found a daily dose of lutein is associated with a 43 percent drop in the risk for macular degeneration. And animal research has shown that zeaxanthin offers powerful protection to the retinas against light damage.
Clinical trials have shown this dynamic duo can help improve…
- close up vision (goodbye reading glasses)
- glare and contrast issue (no more night driving problems)
- visual endurance (read MORE of the great articles on HealthierTalk.com)
You can raise your levels of these potent antioxidants by eating the right foods. Some foods that contain both are kiwi, grapes, spinach, kale, basil, peppers, collard greens, parsley, zucchini, corn, paprika, cayenne pepper, sweet potatoes and eggs.
Lutein and zeaxanthin are also available as individual supplements, as well as part of more comprehensive vision formulas.
Omega-3 fatty acids:
Your retinas naturally contain the omega-3 fatty acid DHA. Experts believe this is why fish-loving volunteers in Harvard’s Age-Related Eye Disease Study had a far lower risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Folks who ate fish more than twice a week had a stunning 50 percent lower risk of AMD that those who avoided seafood.
Research has also found that omega-3 fatty acids could help prevent and combat the dry eyes that often accompany aging. And animal studies have shown the nutrients could also reduce the abnormal blood vessel growth that’s behind eye diseases such as diabetic retinopathy.
Your best source of omega-3s is wild caught, fatty, cold water fish such as mackerel, salmon, tuna and sardines. Fish oil supplements are also a good option to protect eyes if you’re not getting enough through your diet.
I know the word acid and eyes usually don’t go together. But in this case trust me, your eyes love the stuff.
Hyaluronic acid (HA) occurs naturally in the clear liquid in your eyeballs. In fact, it’s a major part of the gel, which keeps your eyes lubricated and moving freely. And when your HA levels drop too low you can suffer from dry eyes and start to get “floaters,” those annoying dark spots that cloud your vision.
In one study, volunteers with dry eye symptoms who used HA drops had improvements in eye lubrication, corneal cells and most importantly their irritating symptoms. And in another study last year researchers confirmed HA improved both signs and symptoms of dry eye in another group of sufferers.
In the United States, we’re far more familiar with blueberries than their kissing cousin, the European bilberry. But if you want to protect your vision, it’s worth getting to know the bilberry.
Experts say bilberry can help improve night vision as well as help protect eyes against cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration and computer-triggered vision strain.
Bilberry is brimming with antioxidants that help shore up the capillaries in your retinas. And research in the lab revealed the anthocyanins in these delicious berries protects the delicate neurons in our retinas against damage.
It’s not always easy to find fresh bilberries in American supermarkets. But if yours doesn’t carry them, they are also available for order both fresh and frozen online. Bilberry extract supplements are also available.
But remember, simply tossing back a supplement or two and calling it a day isn’t going to cut it. If you want to keep your eyes healthy and protect your vision for many years to come be sure to wear UV-blocking sunglasses whenever you’re outdoors, ditch the cigarettes, get some regular exercise and see your eye doctor once a year.