Basic healthy lifestyle principles, such as eating right, limiting exposure to environmental toxins, and exercising regularly, are critical to eye health. But if you want a more targeted approach to protecting healthy vision, the role of certain antioxidants and nutrients is especially compelling. Antioxidants and nutrients that are extremely beneficial for your eyes include:
1. Lutein and Zeaxanthin
Of all the carotenoids, only zeaxanthin and lutein are found in your retina, the tissue with the highest concentration of fatty acids in your body. This is because your retina is a highly bright and oxygen-rich environment, and it needs a lot of free radical scavengers to prevent oxidative damage.
Astaxanthin is the ultimate carotenoid for eye health and blindness prevention. A more powerful antioxidant than lutein and zeaxanthin, it can easily enter the tissues of the eye, making it safer and more effective for its effects than any other carotenoid.
Specifically, astaxanthin can ameliorate or prevent photodamage, photoreceptor cell damage, ganglion cell damage, and damage to neurons in the inner retina.
The best water-soluble antioxidants for eye health are anthocyanins from blackcurrants and bilberries. They are essential for eye health because they dissolve in aqueous humor, the thick, watery substance that fills the space between the lens and cornea. Aqueous humor helps maintain intraocular pressure, provides nutrients to other eye tissues, and delivers antioxidants.
Anthocyanins also lower eye pressure and help maintain collagen, the main component of the lens and the connective tissue that supports the eye.