There's no substitute for the quality of life good vision offers. Adding certain nutrients to your diet every day—either through foods or supplements—can help save your vision. Researchers have linked lutein and zeaxanthin, vitamin C, vitamin E and zinc to reducing the risk of certain eye diseases, including age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
Lutein and Zeaxanthin —Need 10 mg lutein and 2 mg zeaxanthin per day to slow AMD progression.
Lutein and zeaxanthin are found in green leafy vegetables as well as other foods such as eggs. Many studies have shown that lutein and zeaxanthin reduce the risk of chronic eye diseases, including AMD.
In fact, the National Eye Institute is conducting a second large human clinical trial, Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS2), to confirm whether supplements containing 10 mg a day of lutein and 2 mg of zeaxanthin per day affect the risk of developing AMD. Separate studies have shown that lutein and zeaxanthin improve visual performance in AMD patients.
Vitamin C—Need 500 mg per day to slow AMD progression.
Scientific evidence suggests vitamin C, when taken with other essential nutrients, can slow the progression of AMD and visual acuity loss. The first AREDS clinical trial, sponsored by the National Eye Institute, established AMD as a "nutrition-responsive disorder." The study showed that taking 500 mg/day of vitamin C, along with antioxidants beta-carotene, vitamin E and zinc, slows the progression of AMD by about 25 percent. Seven smaller studies have confirmed these results.
Vitamin E—Need 400 mg per day to slow AMD progression.
AREDS showed that taking 400 IU/day of vitamin E, along with antioxidants beta-carotene, vitamin C and zinc supplementation, slows the progression of AMD by about 25 percent in individuals at high risk for the disease.
Zinc—Need 40 to 80 mg daily to slow AMD progression.
AREDS showed that taking 40-80 mg/day of zinc, along with antioxidants beta-carotene, vitamin E and vitamin C, slows the progression of AMD by about 25 percent and visual acuity loss by 19 percent in individuals at high risk for the disease. Higher levels of zinc may interfere with copper absorption, which is why the people in the AREDS study also took a copper supplement.