With the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent lockdown, every office and school visitor was pushed in front of devices such as cell phones, tablets and laptops. The spread of the infection resulted in the closure of offices and schools, and soon the modules for working from home and learning from home were gaining popularity with most organizations. This increased in the screen time of the majority of the people among us.
According to a survey, more than 90% of respondents reported at least one symptom caused by using digital devices. While continuing to strike a balance between work and health, it also becomes a duty to look after our eye health as it can skyrocket the amount of time in front of the screen which can affect our eye health.
Let’s look at 5 vitamins and minerals that help our eyes function better:
Beta-carotene and vitamin A.
Vitamin A keeps the cornea, or the outer protective layer of the eye, healthy and clear. It protects the eye from age-related eye diseases and cataracts.
Apart from that, vitamin A is also known to activate a protein called rhodopsin in the eye. This protein helps us see in low light.
Beta-carotene is the precursor to vitamin A. It is converted into vitamin A in the body. Consuming foods that are rich in beta-carotene therefore ensures adequate vitamin A levels in the body.
Natural sources of vitamin A and beta-carotene include leafy green vegetables, orange, papaya, eggs, vegetables like carrots, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, etc.
Several eye diseases are caused by the production of unstable molecules called free radicals. They damage the healthy tissues of our eyes. Now vitamin E is stacked with antioxidant properties. Studies have shown that a diet high in vitamin E and antioxidants can reduce the risk of developing cataracts in the future.
So fight off free radical damage by consuming natural sources of vitamin E like nuts, seeds, avocado, leafy green vegetables like spinach and broccoli, and fish like salmon.
Vitamin C is critical to protecting cells and blood vessels in the eyes. It also aids in the proper functioning of the eye nerves. In addition, vitamin C is also important for the formation of collagen, a protein that gives structure to the eyes.
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin and is therefore not stored in our body. It must be taken daily to avoid its deficiency.
Get a daily dose of vitamin C by consuming oranges, limes, grapefruits, kiwis, strawberries, tomatoes, red and green peppers, and broccoli.
Lutein and zeaxanthin
The central part of the retina, called the macula, contains natural forms of lutein and zeaxanthin. These are yellow carotenoid pigments that are essential for protecting the eyes from high-energy UV rays from the sun.
The natural sources of these pigments are green leafy vegetables like spinach, broccoli and asparagus and colorful fruits like raspberries, papaya, peaches and mangoes.
Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are important for tear production, vision development, and the proper functioning of the retina. They’ve also been shown to be useful in reducing inflammation and helping to support the oily outer layer of the eye.
Natural sources of omega-3 are oily fish (salmon, trout, sardines), sunflower oil, nuts (walnuts), seeds (chia seeds and flax seeds).
When not available, they can be taken in supplement form. Dietary supplements with optimal amounts of EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) can meet the daily requirement for omega-3 fatty acids.
So if you experience mild eye pain, burning, redness, watery eyes, or dry eyes, don’t see an eye professional as these are common signs that can appear after prolonged use of equipment. Science proves that eating nutrient-rich foods reduces the risk of developing eye diseases such as cataracts and age-related macular degeneration later in life.
Just make sure you get your nutrient dose with your daily diet. That would be enough to keep your eyes healthy.