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Your parents always told you to eat your carrots because they were good for your eyes. Were your mom and dad right? Recent studies seem to point to a link between vitamin intake and eye health.

Eating vegetables that are high in vitamins A, C, and E, along with zinc and beta-carotene will not give you 20-20 vision, but these vitamins may very well stave off macular degeneration as you age. Also, though carrots have the reputation for keeping rabbits from wearing glasses, other foods may actually be better for your eyes.

EATING FOR YOUR EYE HEALTH

If you’re thinking of changing your diet to incorporate more eye-healthy vitamins, you’ll want to include a lot of fresh, dark, leafy greens, citrus fruits for their vitamin C, and bananas and other zinc-heavy foods. These are all linked with stopping or at least greatly slowing progressive, age-related vision loss.

You can also help prevent dry eye by adding more vitamin A and omega-3 fatty acids to your diet. These act as anti-inflammatory compounds and help keep your tear ducts in good working order so that they can properly lubricate your eyes.

TAKING A SUPPLEMENT?

If you don’t have the time or grocery budget to incorporate all of those vitamins, antioxidants, and omega-3s into your diet, you can take nutritional supplements to help your vision. You just need to make sure that the supplements you choose have the right ingredients, that they are fresh, and that they are FDA-approved.

Before you start taking any new supplements to help your vision, you should first talk with your eye doctor to get recommendations for effective supplements and brands. If your doctor doesn’t recommend supplements, feel free to get a second opinion, but you may also want to ask his or her reasons before discounting the advice out of hand.

A good vision supplement should have, at the very least

  • 25 mg zinc
  • 5000 IU beta-carotene
  • 500 mg calcium
  • 2000 mg omega-3 fatty acids
  • 250 mg vitamin C
  • 100 mg selenium
  • 10 mg lutein
  • 800 mcg folic acid
  • 200 mg vitamin E
  • 5000 IU vitamin A

If you need to, you can use individual supplements to make up this cocktail, or you can try to find a multi-vitamin that has all of them. You will most likely have to take the omega-3 fatty acids as a separate supplement, usually fish oil.

BEFORE YOU BUY

Before you purchase vitamin supplements of any kind, whether for your eyes or for other health reasons, make sure that they are fresh and that they won’t pass their expiration date before you finish taking them. Make sure, also, that the bottle is sealed tightly and that the seal isn’t broken.

If you can, choose vitamins derived from whole, organic foods and vitamin packs that are specifically formulated for eye health. Make sure that the label states that all contaminants have been removed from any fish oil products. Otherwise, you may be putting yourself in danger of mercury poisoning.

If you have any questions about any of the ingredients in a supplement, don’t hesitate to talk with your eye doctor before buying or consuming the supplement.

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