Nutrients for the aging eye
Helen M Rasmussen,1 Elizabeth J Johnson2
1Educational Studies, Lesley University, Cambridge, MA, USA; 2Carotenoid and Health Laboratory, Jean Mayer US Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, Boston, MA, USA
Abstract: The incidence of age-related eye diseases is expected to rise with the aging of the population. Oxidation and inflammation are implicated in the etiology of these diseases. There is evidence that dietary antioxidants and anti-inflammatories may provide benefit in decreasing the risk of age-related eye disease. Nutrients of interest are vitamins C and E, β-carotene, zinc, lutein, zeaxanthin, and the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid. While a recent survey finds that among the baby boomers (45–65 years old), vision is the most important of the five senses, well over half of those surveyed were not aware of the important nutrients that play a key role in eye health. This is evident from a national survey that finds that intake of these key nutrients from dietary sources is below the recommendations or guidelines. Therefore, it is important to educate this population and to create an awareness of the nutrients and foods of particular interest in the prevention of age-related eye disease.
Keywords: nutrition, aging, eye health
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