Vision is among the five sensory modalities found in the human body. An individual uses his or her eyes for several reasons. This includes learning, communication, recognition, protection, and providing necessary information to the nervous system for locomotion, movement, and spatial displacement. Vision loss may occur due to several pathological processes and several lifestyle habits. While some types of vision loss are not reversible and can only be managed via invasive and non-invasive means, others can be treated by natural and synthetic means. Natural supplementation of essential vitamins and minerals can contribute to improvement in the vision of an individual.
What Are The Common Causes of Vision Loss?
Vision loss or impaired eyesight can occur due to several reasons that include refractive errors and non-refractive pathologies of the eye. These are diabetic retinopathy, trachoma, cataracts, glaucoma, corneal opacification, and age-related macular degeneration. There are approximately 285 million individuals who suffer from visual impairment around the globe, according to data provided by the World Health Organization (WHO), with a greater percentage of these individuals belonging to developing countries. Ophthalmologists conduct an ocular health exam to assess the vision and overall health of the eyes. This exam includes dilated fundus exam, intraocular pressure, visual acuity, visual field, pupil, binocular vision testing, and extraocular muscles.
Why Vision Loss Is Harmful?
Vision is an integral component of human existence and plays a crucial role in providing awareness of the surroundings, protecting from potential threats, learning, and interacting with others. Decisions, perceptions, and motor behavior of an individual also depend on the visual input and processing mediated by healthy and normally functioning eyes. Therefore, to carry out routine activities easily and effectively, it is important to maintain vision and restore the lost vision using different natural and artificial techniques.
What Are The Natural Food Sources For Improving Eyesight?
Dietary intake of essential nutrients has long benefits for improving and restoring ocular health. Not only does a healthy diet treats vision loss but also plays a significant role in preventing vision loss in otherwise healthy individuals. Fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, legumes, dairy, fish, and lean meats are important sources that are enriched with antioxidant micronutrients. Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory vitamins and minerals slow and prevent the onset of different eye diseases. These natural food sources have relatively less severe side effects compared to pharmacologic formulations and invasive treatments.
How Does Lutein Improve Eyesight?
Lutein is among many nutrients that are beneficial for restoring and improving vision. Lutein is an oxygenated carotenoid or xanthophyll with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Humans largely depend on food sources for deriving lutein as they lack biosynthetic machinery for endogenous lutein synthesis. Lutein is normally found in the inner plexiform layer, Henle's fiber layer, and Muller cells of the macula. Lutein is also found in the peripheral areas of the fovea. Lutein is also found in the brain of children and older individuals.
Lutein protects the eyes from external damage and maintains normal vision by a variety of mechanisms. Firstly, the antioxidant properties of lutein enable it to scavenge and neutralize free radicals and reactive oxygen species. Lutein protects the eyes, particularly photoreceptor cells, from phototoxic damage by filtering harmful blue light. Localization of lutein in a specific orientation in the vulnerable areas of the retina contributes to greater benefits. The anti-inflammatory properties of lutein play a crucial role in protecting ocular tissues from inflammatory damage. Lutein demonstrates anti-inflammatory properties by suppressing the production, release, and signaling pathways of pro-inflammatory cytokines.
Moreover, lutein reduces the production of reactive oxygen species, reduces the genetic expression and synthesis of nitric oxide synthase, and also inhibits the complement system. Hence, lutein modulates the inflammatory processes and protects the ocular tissues from oxidative damage resulting in improved vision and optimal ocular health. An individual shall consume the following foods to replenish lutein in the ocular and neural tissues and achieve normal vision.
One shall note that lutein derived from egg yolk has greater bioavailability than other food sources.
4. Egg yolk
How Does Vitamin B2 Improve Eyesight?
Vitamin B2 or riboflavin is a bright yellow water-soluble entity of the vitamin B complex. Vitamin B2 plays a crucial in maintaining health and aiding in the normal progression of the metabolic processes. Riboflavin is a heat-stable vitamin, however, this is destroyed by the ultraviolet light fairly rapidly and by daylight less rapidly.
Vitamin B2 is widely used for the treatment of keratoconus in conjunction with UV-A light therapy. Vitamin B2 has photoreactive properties that are activated by ultraviolet light. This stimulates cross-linking between the collagen molecules and increases corneal stiffness. Riboflavin and UV-A therapy inhibits the progression of keratoconus and prevents further deterioration of the vision. Riboflavin also inhibits the production of reactive oxygen species in keratoconus. Riboflavin also promotes the genetic expression and synthesis of antioxidant enzymes that include aldehyde dehydrogenase, ketolase, and haem oxygenase 1. All of these therapeutic effects of vitamin B2 work coherently to improve vision in keratoconus patients and also halt the progression of this disease.
The naturally dietary forms of riboflavin are FMN (flavin mononucleotide) and FAD (flavin adenine dinucleotide). FMN and FAD are commonly found in organ meats, dairy products, eggs, fish, poultry, cereals, bread, and grain products. Green vegetables such as broccoli, turnips, and collard greens have moderate amounts of FAD and FMN. Fortified natural grain products are also a good source of vitamin B2.
Macronutrients and micronutrients play an essential role in maintaining normal vision and treating or managing disorders that are associated with impaired vision. Dietary intake and supplementation of these nutrients prove to be beneficial for individuals suffering from vision loss. Lutein and vitamin B2 are two nutrients that modulate normal vision and protect the ocular tissues from external and internal damage. Lutein is a carotenoid that is derived from egg yolk and plant sources. Lutein filters blue light and protect the ocular tissues from oxidative and inflammatory damage owing to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Vitamin B2 or riboflavin has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and photoreactive properties that are important for the treatment and management of keratoconus.