When it comes to vitamins that are good for the eye, vitamin A gets a lot of attention. While vitamin A is absolutely important for maintaining healthy corneas and mucous membranes, it's not the only vitamin your eyes need. Vitamin E is another vitamin that's essential for healthy eyes. Here's a closer look at this nutrient, how it impacts your eyes, and how to ensure you're getting enough.
How does vitamin E protect the eyes?
Vitamin E is an antioxidant vitamin. As such, it protects tissues like your cornea and eye lining from damage caused by environmental pollutants and consumed toxins. By keeping the eye tissues in good shape, vitamin E helps the eyes fend off infections caused by bacteria and viruses.
Healthy eye tissues are also less susceptible to conditions like chronic eye dryness and macular degeneration. In fact, studies have found that consuming enough vitamin E reduces the risk of macular degeneration (a serious, vision-impairing eye disease). Failing to eat enough vitamin E also increases your risk of cataracts.
What are some signs that you're not getting enough vitamin E?
If you're not getting enough vitamin E, you may notice that your eyes feel dry or that you're developing a lot of eye infections. However, far before this deficiency starts affecting your eyes, you're likely to experience some non-eye-related symptoms, which include:
- Dry skin
- Frequent illness (due to impaired immunity)
- Feelings of fatigue
How much vitamin E should you be consuming?
The RDA for vitamin E is 15 mg per day for both men and women over the age of 14.
What are some good sources of vitamin E?
Vitamin E is found in most nuts, seeds, and oils and well as numerous fruits and veggies. Some notably good sources include:
- Sunflower seeds, which contain 7.4 mg of vitamin E per ounce
- Almonds, which contain 6.8 mg of vitamin E per pounds
- Peanut butter, which contains 2.9 mg of vitamin E per 2 tablespoons
- Boiled spinach, which contains 1.9 mg of vitamin E per ½ cup
If you do not eat a lot of vitamin E-rich foods, taking a high-quality multivitamin is a good way to ensure you get enough.
If you suspect that you've not been getting enough vitamin E, it's a good idea to see your eye doctor, such as River Valley Eye Care. He or she can ensure your eyes have not suffered as a result of your deficiency and can also help you develop a plan for increasing you vitamin E intake.