Important Facts About Vision Vitamins

Important Facts About Vision Vitamins
Vision vitamins are the nutritional elements that enhance eye sight. These include vitamin A, B6, C, selenium, trace elements such as magnesium and zinc among other nutrients. A variety of food containing vitamins include, among others oranges, carrots, pumpkin and leafy vegetables. Having enough of these food sources in the diet protects one from getting certain eye diseases such as cataracts and macular degeneration.

We will explore the benefits of vitamin A in more detail since it is the nutrient of greatest significance. The vitamin is involved in the synthesis of a pigment of the retina known as rhodopsin. Rhodopsin is necessary for dim vision. The other important role that this pigment plays is that it helps to keep the cornea moist through the maintenance of the integrity of related membranes.

It should be understood that vitamin A is not a single unit. Rather, it is made of several non-saturated hydrocarbons. These hydrocarbons include retinoic acid, retinol, retinal and other precursors known as carotenoids. Beta carotene is the most important of these carotenes. The retinal hydrocarbon reacts with a protein known as opsin to form rhodopsin. The resultant molecule helps in the achievement of scotopic (low light) and colour vision.

Deficiency of vitamin A results in a number of eye conditions that vary in severity depending on the extent of involvement. It often occurs when there is reduced intake of provitamin A carotenoid containing foods such as vegetables, dairy and animals products and fruits. This is the commonest scenario and is also referred to as primary vitamin A deficiency.

Secondary deficiency may be seen in a number of circumstances. For instance, it is seen when there is malabsorption of the vitamin. This frequently occurs when there is decreased uptake of lipids and reduced release of bile. The vitamin requires fat to dissolve and a deficiency of the fats will therefore result in decreased absorption. Other risk factors for the same include prolonged smoking and alcohol intake.

One of the most initial manifestations of vitamin A deficiency is night blindness. This refers to impaired scotopic vision. With time, the condition may worsen and changes such as drying of the conjunctiva may occur. This happens because the normal tear secreting system is replaced by keratinisation. This is accompanied by formation of keratin plaques in the cornea which eventually gets eroded as more keratinisation leading to complete blindness.

The antioxidant properties of vitamin C help protect the eye from damage due to radiation. This nutrient also helps in maintaining normal pressure, collagen and capillary integrity. Vitamin B6 helps maintain the structure and function of red blood cells found within the retina. A trace element such as zinc plays a key role in ensuring good vision. It is responsible for converting beta carotene to vitamin A.

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