Do You Need More Vitamin C To See?

Maybe. While we grew up thinking vitamin A-rich carrots are good for vision, new research suggests that you may also need to look to citrus fruits and other vitamin C-rich foods to maintain your eyes' good health. A recent study by researchers at King's College London highlighted that your diet, especially vitamin C, may play an important role in protecting against cataracts.

Cataracts cloud the lens of your eyes and can be a life-altering condition that inhibits individuals from appropriately seeing the world around them. The ability to clearly see can affect even the simplest tasks of everyday living. Reading, driving a car, watching television, and making your meals can all become very cloudy as cataracts inhibit your ability to perform these activities.

For example, the first photo is an image being seen by folks with good vision. The second photo is the same image viewed through the lens of a person with cataracts.

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Photo Source: National Eye Institute

Approximately 20 million people have cataracts, which is the leading cause of blindness globally. While the progression of cataracts can start as early as your 40s, you typically won't see an effect on your vision until after age 60. By the time you turn 80-years-old, there is a 50 percent chance that you will either have a cataract or have undergone cataract surgery according to the National Eye Institute.

This study published in the journal, Ophthalmology, looked at the diets of 1,000 female twins and uncovered that those with initial diets rich in vitamin C-rich foods, but not supplements, were associated with a 20 percent reduction in the risk for cataracts. After a decade of following these 500 sets of twins, the researchers found that those women who consumed more vitamin C-rich foods had over a 30 percent risk reduction in the progression of cataracts. A daily intake of 55 to 230 milligrams daily, which can easily be consumed in a healthy diet, was shown to be protective. It is thought that vitamin C, which baths the lens of the eye, may act as an antioxidant protecting your vision.

"The most important finding was that vitamin C intake from foods seemed to protect against cataract progression," said study author Christopher Hammond, MD, professor of ophthalmology at King's College London. "While we cannot totally avoid developing cataracts, we may be able to delay their onset and keep them from worsening significantly by eating a diet rich in vitamin C."

Although Americans, on average, should be consuming about 4 ½ cups of fruits and veggies daily, many are falling short of their daily produce goal. Adding just a few servings of vitamin C-rich choices daily may be the best protection your eyes:

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Source: National Institutes of Health

When it comes to long-term good vision, look to a healthy diet that contains adequate amounts of vitamin-C rich foods.

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