Can nutraceuticals, supplements improve eye health, eye sight and night vision?

Updated on Oct 19, 2022 05:22 PM IST

Nutraceuticals are agents derived from natural food resources, essentially termed superfoods. They assist in preventing deficiencies one may encounter in a normal diet and help improve an individual's health but can they also improve eye health, eye sight, night vision?

Can nutraceuticals, supplements improve eye health, eye sight and night vision?(Photo by Drew Dizzy Graham on Unsplash)
Can nutraceuticals, supplements improve eye health, eye sight and night vision?(Photo by Drew Dizzy Graham on Unsplash)
ByZarafshan Shiraz, Delhi

Since birth, eyes are one of the foremost sensory organs enabling human experience where our vision helps us learn, adapt and enhance the quality of our lives however, eye health is extremely susceptible to deterioration due to several environmental and physiological factors, which sometimes are out of our hands but at the same time, our increased hours of screen time and pitifully deficient diets play a major role in speeding up this painful process. Although visual impairment is most commonly linked with ageing, we've also seen the development of eye-related diseases at a younger age.

Taking care of your eye health is especially important if you're at high risk for developing eye-related pathologies as you age. According to health experts, the most notable of those risks are hypertension, cardiovascular disorders and diabetes; disorders that are especially common in the subcontinent, even at a younger age but eye health is not just dependent on your physical state. Just like every other system in the body, an individual's eye health is directly proportional to his dietary habits.

A healthy diet can promote eye health and prevent several eye diseases from progressing but with added risk, sometimes that may not be enough. Therefore, it is important to supplement your diet with agents that can help build stronger eye health and control diseases. Nutraceuticals are agents derived from natural food resources, essentially termed superfoods, that assist in preventing deficiencies one may encounter in a normal diet and help improve an individual's health.

Why are nutraceuticals required?

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Anjula Masurkar, Clinical Director at Entod Beauty London, answered, “Multiple factors play a role in the progressive development of visual impairment and eye-related disorders. These include previous risks, dietary deficiencies, aging, and genetic predisposition. Identification of deficiencies beforehand and adding supplementation in the form of nutraceuticals can help prevent them from becoming worse. They can also reduce the cost of medical treatment and help save money.”

Can nutraceuticals prevent age-related eye diseases?

Anjula Masurkar shared, “The most common eye-related diseases that can lead to visual problems, even partial or complete blindness, include cataracts, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, age-related macular degeneration (AMD), night blindness, and dry eye syndrome. Several of these can be prevented by taking the right measures at the right time. AMD, for example, can be slowed in its progression by taking the right supplementation and dietary components.”

Nutraceuticals can reduce the chances of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD):

AMD, in its initial form, is termed dry AMD, which is not as bad as wet AMD since wet AMD is a later stage of the disease characterized by worsening vision, sometimes leading to a complete loss of vision. A study conducted on people with AMD revealed that taking a cocktail of certain vitamins and minerals led to a more than 20 percent decline in the chances of the disease getting worse.

The nutraceuticals suggested by this study include Vitamin C, an antioxidant that helps fight free radicals, promotes the immune system, boosts circulation, and also helps protect against retinal damage and prevents cataract formation; Vitamin E, also an antioxidant and protects the retina, commonly found in nuts and seeds; Lutein and Zeaxanthin are carotenoidswhich are essential for eye function; and Zinc and Copper – these minerals reduce oxidative stress on the retina and reduce the chances of developing a loss of visual acuity.

Anjula Masurkar revealed, “Nutraceuticals help reduce stress on the eyes and boost under eye skin. Puffy eyes and undereye circles can make you appear tired when you feel perfectly energized. In that case, tablets with ingredients such as glutathione, natural astaxanthin, alpha lipoic acid, co enzyme Q10, resveratrol, grape seed extract, and vitamin A and C can alleviate undereye problems. These supplements are specially designed to boost, brighten and protect the skin under the eyes and to provide the undereye area with essential nutrition and ample nourishment. Similarly, B-complex vitamins, particularly vitamin B1, may help reduce inflammation and stress in the eyes. It may also help in inflammatory conditions such as uveitis and other infections. Other B-complex vitamins such as vitamin B6, biotin (B7), folic acid (B9), and cobalamin (B12) also aid in promoting eye health by reducing the amount of homocysteine in the blood. Decreased homocysteine leads to a reduction in cell death, ensuring healthy eyes.”

She added, “Nutraceuticals aid in preventing the development of night blindness. Vitamin A is essential for night vision and its deficiency can lead to night blindness. Bilberries, which look similar to blueberries, can also improve night vision and improve eyesight. In a nutshell, nutraceutical products have noteworthy health goodness which significantly help in reducing the risk of wide range of eye diseases and boost overall eye health, including the skin around the eyes. While choosing a nutraceutical product, one must take note of the ingredients. There may be side effects from some supplements, so be sure to check with your doctor for dosage and user instructions.”

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