By Dr. Amanda Umlandt OD
Many of us have pledged to lose a few pounds this New Year, but how many of us have our ocular nutrition in mind? Current AOA and Seashore Eyecare recommendations regarding supplements for your eyes include 1000-2000mg Omega 3/Fish Oil daily, 10-20 mg lutein daily, Vitamin C 500-1000 mg daily, as well as supplemented amounts of Zinc, Copper and Zeaxanthine. A significant study called the Age Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) resulted in nutritional recommendations to try to help fortify your eye health in defense of macular degeneration. The supplements, when taken at recommended levels listed above, can also help significantly with the “ocular surface,” or your cornea and tears, which in turn helps improve clarity of vision.
Omega 3/Fish oil supplements are beneficial to nearly all systems in your body as well, including joint, brain function, blood vessel health, heart health, cholesterol control, skin, hair, nails, and the list goes on! Some complain the supplement has bad after tastes or fishy burps, but searching for a supplement that is enteric coated can help as this helps delay stomach digestion and absorption until the pill is further into your digestive tract. Also, keep in mind to check out the quality of the fish oils you select – fish oil may contain small amounts of toxic chemicals such as mercury and arsenic without your knowledge. Manufacturers may use a distillation process to remove these chemicals from the fish oil prior to packaging. Packages may be labeled with “toxin free” or “pharmaceutical grade” but the only way to determine the actual purity is to request a certificate of authenticity (COA) from the manufacturer or to locate the COA on the manufacturer’s website. Another important consideration in fish oil is the freshness. Check the expiration dates as rancid oils will not have the therapeutic effects in your body as desired. Freezing surplus supplies does not necessarily keep the oils from going bad.
While considering your vitamin regimen, look on your current multivitamin to determine what quantities of vitamins you currently take. If needed, add supplementation. The doctors and staff at Seashore Eyecare would be happy to help you determine what regimen would be right for you, as well as whether any changes should be made to your current regimen.