We’ve all heard how beneficial antioxidants are for our health. But, understanding exactly what they do, can be difficult. We’re here to explain exactly why you need them for optimal eye health.
Our body is constantly oxidizing.
Simply put, the oxygen in our body splits into single atoms, and under certain conditions, they lose electrons. The atoms are therefore incomplete, and are then called “free radicals”, or oxidants. We also produce free radicals from external sources, like processed food, pollution, medication, pesticides and more. But atoms like to be complete, so they look around for other electrons to pair with and try to “steal” them from different cells in our bodies, damaging them in the process, and cells in your eyes are no exception. Oxidative stress plays a big role in aging and in chronic conditions like cancer or diabetes, as well as in eye pathologies like age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.
Since free radicals can damage your cells, we must try to get rid of them, right?
Well, actually, our body needs them, since they can also be really helpful. They help our immune system identify harmful or sick cells and will indicate to destroy them. Also, according to a study published in Nature Cell Biology in 2018, they also help the regeneration of cells after an injury. So, you need them, but not too many.
How do you make sure your eyes have enough antioxidants?
First of all, your body does a big part of the work by naturally producing antioxidants. And most of the time, it’s able to maintain a proper balance between free radicals and antioxidants. In the case of your eyes, your tear film produces its own antioxidants. But imbalances can happen, and since there’s no way to know where you’re at, scientists and doctors recommend to increase your intake of antioxidants. Clinical trials by the National Eye Institute showed that an uptake in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals slowed down the development of AMD and cataracts in affected patients, so it can only be good for your eye health!
You can get antioxidants from food like berries, grapes, kale, spinach and, more, or through dietary supplements. You can also find great recipes with a focus on your eye health on our blog. But one great way to make sure your eyes get what they need is to wear contact lenses that have antioxidants integrated in the material they are made out of. That keeps the lipid cells of your tear film from oxidizing when they interact with the lens, reducing the dangers associated with oxidative stress. The brand that offers this technology is Acuvue, with an added antioxidant that has four times the capacity of vitamin E in all of their contact lenses.
For more information, don’t hesitate to talk to your eye doctor! You can easily book your next appointment right here.