25 Questions 

What vitamins should I take or supplements should I use to protect my vision?

There are a lot of nutraceuticals out there and a lot of the information regarding them is fact mixed with some snake oil mixed with some good intuition. Separating something marketed vs. something researched is important and where we come in.

A few facts: If you have macular degeneration a study, Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS), has proven that in the majority of cases you can slow the process with higher zinc, copper, betacarotene. However, in that original study, Lutein Zeanthifili was not studied, but it is often included in over-the-counter vitamins. Some good anecdotal information suggests that lutein should be beneficial, but that has not been verified. There’s an ongoing study that we should have data from in 2-5 years that takes the AREDS formulation and breaks out some components. Does half the amount of zinc give a lower rate of progression? Adding lutein, Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oils). When we get AREDS 2 we’ll know more about slowing macular degeneration. If you do not have macular degeneration there is no benefit to taking these meds. Certain supplements appear to be healthful for people with dry eyes, including Omega-3s. Flaxseed oil for women is beneficial to improve tear film and hydration of the cornea. We don’t yet know particularly the right level for each individual. That’s customized over time.

We can’t talk about nutrition without saying what you should avoid for healthy eyes. Smoking is No. 1. It increases your chances of macular degeneration, cataracts form, and it decreases your tear film and leads to dryer eyes.

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