Dear Dr. Walt,
Are there any vitamins or supplements to help vision?
—Wanting Better Vision in Vermont
The best evidence is for the prevention of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which is considered an incurable eye disease. According to the American Macular Degeneration Foundation, AMD is the leading cause of vision loss, affecting more than 10 million Americans — more than cataracts and glaucoma combined. It’s caused by the deterioration of the central portion of the retina, the inside back layer of the eye that records the images we see and sends them via the optic nerve from the eye to the brain.
The retina’s central portion, known as the macula, is responsible for focusing central vision in the eye, and it controls our ability to read, drive a car, recognize faces or colors, and see objects in fine detail.
We have several studies reporting that a combination of vitamin C (500 mg), vitamin E (400 units), beta-carotene (15 mg), zinc (80 mg), and copper (2 mg) reduces the progression of AMD in patients with intermediate to advanced AMD. And, for smokers, many eye doctors will replace the beta-carotene component with Lutein (10 mg) plus zeaxanthin (2 mg) to reduce the risk of lung cancer. However, multivitamins alone have not been shown to help with AMD.
The experts at Prescriber’s Letter tell us doctors to “tell those without AMD or those with early AMD it’s too soon to recommend eye vitamins for prevention or slowing of disease progression, respectively. Instead, encourage lifestyle modifications that are likely to reduce the risk, such as smoking cessation, eating a healthy diet with green leafy vegetables, and wearing good sunglasses.”
But, in any case, do not try to choose a supplement for your eyes on your own. Just trying to read all those labels will give you blurred vision. I recommend you first discuss this with your ophthalmologist.
This Q&A was published in the November 2016 edition of Today’s Christian Living.
© Copyright WLL, INC. 2016. This blog provides a wide variety of general health information only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from your regular physician. If you are concerned about your health, take what you learn from this blog and meet with your personal doctor to discuss your concerns.