Most people associate vitamin C with treating the common cold, or preventing scurvy. The truth is, vitamin C is essential for normal growth and health. It helps build strong connective tissues, accelerates wound healing, facilitates iron absorption and assists in the conversion of fat into energy. All cells in the body depend on vitamin C, including cells of the eye, where vitamin C is concentrated.
Cataract risk prevention
Several studies associate vitamin C intake with a decreased risk for cataracts, a degenerative eye condition that is a leading cause of vision loss in the United States. Cataracts negatively impact quality of life by blurring and distorting vision. Without clear vision, it is difficult to accomplish simple, daily activities like reading, driving and house chores. Getting the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C could make all the difference in cataract development. In one study, women who took vitamin C for 10 years or more had a 64% decreased risk of developing nuclear cataracts.
Delayed progression of age-related macular degeneration
Sufficient vitamin C intake could also help prevent age-related macular degeneration (AMD). One case study found that individuals at high risk for AMD who took 500 mg daily of vitamin C, along with a supplement of beta-carotene, vitamin E and zinc, slowed the progression of advanced AMD by about 25 percent and visual acuity loss by 19 percent (Source: AOA).
How much is enough?
Your body does not create all the vitamin C you need, so you must get your daily intake of vitamin c through diet, supplements or fortified foods. To maintain good eye health, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends that men get 90 mg per day of vitamin C and women get 75 mg per day.
Best sources of vitamin C include:
- 1 cup of orange juice - 124 mg
- 1 cup of grapefruit juice - 93.0 mg
- 1 medium orange - 69.7 mg
- 1 cup of spinach (cooked) - 17.6 mg
Other good sources of vitamin C include:
- Sweet potato
- Turnip greens
Add more vitamin C to your diet to fortify your eye cells with vitamin C and prevent eye disease. If it has been longer than a year since you have had a comprehensive eye exam, make an appointment with your eye doctor for a full evaluation of your vision.