Vitamins and Your Eyes

The use of vitamins and minerals is a controversial subject because many nutrition experts have stated that the normal American diet contains enough vitamins. Older individuals, however, clearly have decreased absorption of vitamins and minerals or have a poor diet. Recently the use of vitamins to prevent cataract formation and to slow macular degeneration has received much attention.

In regards to cataracts, the lack of essential vitamins definitely raises the incidence of cataract formation in underdeveloped countries where diets are poor. This is not felt to be a problem in the United States. In macular degeneration, Zinc and Selenium (a mineral) has been found to be successful in slowing down degeneration of the macula when taken over a period of several years. Several vitamins have been found to be important for normal macular function. These include Beta Carotene which is a form of vitamin A, vitamin E and vitamin C.

The use of a multi-vitamin containing vitamins E, C and Beta Carotene and the minerals Zinc and Selenium may play a role in protecting the eyes of older individuals from macular degeneration.