For many people, getting older means facing a loss of visual acuity. In fact, according to the American Optometric Association, after age 40 slight problems with vision start to occur for many Americans, and as you age, even more, they tend to progress even further.
From blurred vision and the need to hold books and magazines farther away from the eyes to read them, to depending on glasses or contacts to get through the day, eye health problems are a common occurrence in the aging population.
But what if there was a simple nutrient that could help you protect your eye health and even help keep your vision sharp as you age? Omega-3 fatty acids might just be the ticket.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, Omega-3 fatty acids are important for maintaining cardiovascular health and keeping your blood pressure in check. Because they possess potent anti-inflammatory powers, they prevent the hardening of the arteries and promote healthy cholesterol levels. Not only that, but research shows that they may be able to prevent vision loss and keep your eyes healthy as well.
How Omega-3 fatty acids benefit the eyes
According to Harvard Health Publishing, one of the most complex forms of Omega-3 fatty acids, known as DHA, is able to slow age-related vision loss in mice in ways that should also apply to humans.
One of three types of Omega-3 fatty acids, DHA is found in only a few different food items naturally, particularly cold-water fatty fish like salmon (via Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai). Because it is so hard to find, fish oil supplements are available to fill in any gaps.
Several studies show DHA can potentially improve your vision both in youth and in old age. A 2009 study published in the journal PLEFA found that intake of DHA, which is present in mother’s milk but not in many infant formulas, is essential to proper cognitive and vision development in children.
A 2012 study published in the journal Neurobiology of Aging found that giving adults daily DHA supplementation for 90 days resulted in “significantly better” visual acuity.
Because Omega-3 fatty acids have been found to be so beneficial to human health, including eye health, the National Institutes of Health now recommends daily doses of 500mg for children and up to 1,600mg for adults.