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The best eye supplements should contain essential omega-3 fatty acids; carotenoid compounds, including astaxanthin and lutein; bilberry; pcycnogenol; and zinc. They also should contain vitamin C, B vitamins and vitamin E compounds. Eye supplements are important for general eye health and for the prevention of certain eye disorders, including dry eyes, cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration and eyestrain. Supplementation might also be useful for people who suffer from dry eyes.
Omega-3 essential fatty acids are natural anti-inflammatories that might play an important role in the management of dry eyes. This is because they promote tear production. Scientific studies have indicated that they might also protect against the development of age-related macular degeneration, which is a common eye disease that can lead to blindness in seniors.
Lutein and astaxanthin are carotenoids. Carotenoids are potent antioxidants that promote eye health and protect the eyes from light damage. Unlike most carotenoid compounds, astaxanthin is easily absorbed in the tissues of the eye. It typically is more potent, with a much lower potential for toxicity than simple vitamin A preparations.
Bilberry and pcycnogenol are rich in flavonoids that protect night vision by promoting the regeneration of the eye structures used for this purpose. They also help improve blood flow to the eyes. Zinc is an antioxidant that offers free radical protection and, together with vitamin C, protects the eyes’ connective tissue. B vitamins are very important in reducing inflammation in the body and protecting against vascular problems. They help maintain the health of the eyes' circulatory system.
Tocopherols and tocotrienols are compounds commonly known as vitamin E. They generally are powerful antioxidants that have mild blood-thinning properties and promote healthy blood flow to the eyes. People who are on blood-thinning medications should discuss intake of vitamin E-rich eye supplements with their healthcare professionals.
When choosing eye supplements, vitamin compounds typically are best taken in their natural forms. As a general rule, vision supplements that contain carotenoids as well as tocopherols and tocotrienols are preferable to those that are rich in vitamin A and isolated forms of vitamin E, such as a-tocopherol. Natural compounds often have synergistic properties, and it is important for eye supplements to contain the whole compounds.
Supplements that are rich in antioxidants are regularly tested for potency and effectiveness. A frequently used test method is a test for oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC). Supplements that undergo ORAC testing or similar tests might be preferable to supplements that have not been tested, because they offer a concrete measure of efficacy.
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