Protect Your Eyes from Summer Sun with Proper Nutrition
Even though school is starting and summer is winding down, hot days and bright sun are still in the forecast. Hopefully, you’ve been shielding your skin from harmful UV rays by layering on the sunscreen, but have you been taking the right precautions when it comes to protecting your eyes?
UV rays emitted from the sun are especially harmful during the afternoon hours in the summer, and can cause everything from dry, irritated eyes to macular degeneration and cataracts.
While wearing sunglasses and wide-brimmed hats can help prevent UV rays from damaging your eyes, it’s important to get the right nutrients to support your eyes’ natural ability to repair and protect themselves.
B Vitamins Found to Prevent Age-Related Eye Damage
A large study recently published in the journal Opthalmology found that B vitamins may help reduce the risk of developing age-related cataracts.
Researchers followed 3,115 people between the ages of 55 and 80 for an average of 9.6 years who either supplemented with a B vitamin combination of B2, B3 (niacin), B6 and B12, or placebo. Those in the B vitamin group experienced a protective effect against nuclear and cortical lens opacities, eye issues that can lead to scarring or clouding and inhibit visual acuity.
Because cataract development is often caused in part by oxidative stress, the antioxidant power of B vitamins may be the source of their effectiveness.
People with the highest intakes of B2 (riboflavin) specifically had a 22% lower risk of developing a mild nuclear cataract, a 38% lower risk of developing a moderate nuclear cataract, and a 23% lower risk of developing a mild cortical cataract.
Meanwhile, the highest B6 intake was associated with a 33% decreased risk of developing moderate nuclear lens opacity.
Stuck Staring at a Computer All Day? Fight Dry Eyes with Fish Oil!
For those of us stuck in front of a computer screen while others soak up the sun, there’s a different threat to our vision that nutrition can help quell: dry eyes. Staring at a computer screen for hours can strain our eyes and dry them out, leaving them red and burning.
In recent years, researchers have seen a rise in dry eye symptoms among young to middle-aged individuals and those who work on computers all day.
In a trial of 480 people, researchers discovered that supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids helped decrease tear evaporation rates and improved overall eye health in people glued to their computer screens for at least three hours per day.
One daily supplement containing 360mg EPA and 240mg DHA was found to completely eliminate symptoms for 70% of the test group after just three months. That’s impressive!
Omega-3 fatty acids are thought to improve inherent tear film stability to promote lubricated eyes, rather than actually increasing tear production.
So if your profession requires you to spend a little too much quality time with your computer each day, make sure you’re getting enough omega-3 fatty acids in your diet, it just may help keep your eyes feeling lubricated and healthy!