An Eye-Friendly Look at Nutrition

Elmquist Eye Group evaluates vitamins and supplements for healthy eyes and vision

An Eye-Friendly Look at NutritionAnutritious diet plays an important role in overall health, which includes the health of your eyes and vision.

Yet, many people struggle to consume the nutrients they need through diet alone. While you cannot replace healthy eating habits, multivitamins and supplements can help fill the nutritional gaps when it comes to promoting healthier vision.

“Adding certain nutrients into your daily diet can help preserve your vision and reduce the risk of certain eye diseases,” said Dr. Yasaira Rodriguez, comprehensive ophthalmologist for Elmquist Eye Group. “For example, some nutrients have been found to slow the progression of degenerative eye diseases like age-related macular degeneration.”

Research by the University of Buffalo published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology shows an unhealthy diet increases by three times the likelihood of developing late-stage age-related macular degeneration (AMD). AMD is the leading cause of irreversible vision loss among the elderly, causing them to slowly lose their central vision and have difficulty conducting daily tasks such as driving, reading and recognizing faces.

But what nutrients are best for your eye health?
Two National Eye Institute-sponsored clinical trials, Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) and AREDS2 found that supplements can help delay the progression of AMD. The AREDS study evaluated the use of a high-dose combination of vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene and zinc for patients with varying degrees of macular degeneration and found that people at high risk of developing advanced stages of AMD lowered their risk by about 25% by taking the combination. A follow-up trial, AREDS2, found that including vitamins called lutein and zeaxanthin without beta-carotene offered even better protection against AMD.

In addition to the AREDS2 formula for AMD, researchers have found that vitamins and supplements can offer protection from several other eye conditions:

• Vitamin A is important for healthy eyesight, especially for night vision. A deficiency in vitamin A can cause dry eyes, impaired night vision and lead to blindness.
• Vitamins C and E. Studies have shown that the antioxidant properties of vitamins C and E may help delay the progression of cataracts. Cataracts
are another leading cause of blindness worldwide.
• Vitamin D may help protect against dry eye syndrome and prevent uveitis, an inflammation of the eye’s middle layer.
• Omega-3 fatty acids help reduce inflammation and have been found to treat and reduce the risk of dry eyes.
• Zinc plays an important role in helping the body absorb vitamin A and has also been found to protect the eyes against night blindness.

Taking care of yourself physically can go a long way in maintaining the health of your eyes. Although vitamins and supplements are available over the counter, a medical professional can help evaluate what’s right for your body and in relation to other medications you may be taking. Talk to your ophthalmologist and primary care physician to determine what approach is best for your eye health.

In addition to nutrition, regular eye exams play a critical role in eye health, even if there are no noticeable vision problems. A comprehensive eye exam provides your eye doctor the opportunity to monitor, detect and treat developing eye conditions before there is permanent damage.

“With AMD and many other eye conditions, symptoms may not become evident until the disease has progressed and vision loss occurs,” Rodriguez said. “Your eye doctor can evaluate your vision and help develop a plan of action to better preserve the health of your eyes.”

Promote the health of your eyes by scheduling an eye exam with Elmquist Eye Group’s team of highly skilled associates.

With more than 25 years of service to the Southwest Florida community, Elmquist Eye Group offers experienced doctors who are dedicated to patient care. Dr. E. Trevor Elmquist, Dr. Kate Wagner, Dr. Sarah Eccles-Brown, Dr. Nina Burt and Dr. Yasaira Rodriguez of Elmquist Eye Group are available to answer your questions. With three U.S. military veterans leading the practice, Elmquist Eye Group’s team stands ready to serve you right here in Southwest Florida. For more information, visit, call 239-936-2020 or stop by an Optical Boutique location in Fort Myers or Cape Coral.

Elmquist Eye Group
239-936-2020 |

7970 Summerlin Lakes Dr.

2336 Surfside Blvd., Suite 121


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