We are frequently asked by patients who have macular degeneration or other visual problems for
advice on diet and vitamins to improve their vision. This paper presents our current recommendations. Data on nutritional supplementation is evolving rapidly. We will update these suggestions as new information is released.
It has been known for some time that extreme deficiencies of some vitamins and minerals cause cataracts and macular degeneration, but it was stated for years that a balanced diet was sufficient to promote visual health. We have learned that this is not necessarily correct. Recent medical studies have shown that nutritional supplementation is necessary for many of us to maintain good vision.
It has a so been proven that the most destructive health habit to vision is smoking. Smoking increase your risk of developing cataracts and macular degeneration. If you are a smoker, our advice is to stop smoking now. It may not be too late to prevent damage to your eyes.
We suggest that everyone take a daily multivitamin that contains all of the essential vitamins and minerals required to meet the minimal nutritional requirements of healthy individuals. There are many acceptable brands. Check with your pharmacist or local health food store.
In addition, patients with macular degeneration need to supplement the multivitamin with additional antioxidents. A very well run study on people with macular degeneration demonstrated that those who took the specific supplements in the amounts listed below were 28% less likely to progress to advanced macular degeneration than those who took no supplements.
In summary these are our recommendations:
If you are a smoker, stop smoking immediately
Take a good multivitamin daily
Eat 3 to 5 servings of vegetables and 2-4 servings of fruits daily
If you have macular degeneration, supplement the multivitamin so that you daily ingest:
500 mg ascorbic acid (vitamin C)
400 IU of vitamin E
15 mg of beta carotene
80 mg of zinc
2 mg of copper
There is additional new information that we consider to be important. Dietary omega-3 long-chain polyunsaurated fatty acids (LCPUFA) have been found to be beneficial in reducing the possibility of developing macular degeneration. The best source of these fatty acids is cold water oily fish such as salmon, erring, mackerel sardines and anchovies. Flaxseed oil and walnuts are also good sources. LCPUF1's are also available as supplements.