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The Importance of Vitamin C for Eye Health: Protecting the Macula and Preventing Cataracts

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Eating Right for Eye Health

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Introduction

We often think about diet when we delve into health issues like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes, but it can also affect our eyes.

The Importance of Eye Health

Public Health Dietitian Dr. Emma Derbyshire of MacauShield emphasizes the importance of taking care of our eye health all year round. Factors such as strong sunlight, air-conditioned offices, dry weather, dust, sand, and sea can contribute to eye damage. Excessive exposure to sunlight and ultraviolet rays can increase the risk of serious eye diseases over time, particularly affecting a crucial part of the eye called the macula.

The Role of the Macula

The macula is the part of the retina located at the back of the eye. It is responsible for central vision, color vision, and the ability to perceive fine details. Dr. Derbyshire explains that the macula consists of photoreceptor cells, which sense light and play a vital role in providing us with clear central vision.

Vitamin C for Macular Protection

Dr. Derbyshire recommends increasing vitamin C intake to protect the macula from oxidative damage. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that supports the production of collagen, an essential component for maintaining healthy eyes. Good sources of vitamin C include citrus fruits (such as oranges and lemons), kiwi, peppers, strawberries, and tomatoes. A 10-year study published in the journal Ophthalmology in 2016 found that higher vitamin C intake was associated with a 33% lower risk of developing cataracts, which cause visual impairment and blindness.

Other Nutrients for Eye Health

In addition to vitamin C, Dr. Derbyshire advises consuming foods rich in lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamin E, zinc, copper, and vitamin B2 to promote overall eye health.

Conclusion

While maintaining a balanced and nutritious diet is important for overall well-being, it is crucial to also consider its impact on eye health. By incorporating foods rich in specific nutrients, such as vitamin C, individuals can help protect their eyes from damage and reduce the risk of developing eye conditions like cataracts. However, further research is needed to fully establish the relationship between vitamin C intake and cataract development.

Source: Express

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