Vision loss is one of the most tragic things that can happen to a person and as we get older we become more vulnerable to eyesight deficiencies. The use of nutritional dietary supplements to improve eyesight naturally has gained the support of mainstream medical professionals in recent years as numerous studies have confirmed the link between eye health and nutrition. Age-related vision problems such as macular degeneration and cataracts can severely impair the quality of life for senior citizens.

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmologists, macular degeneration is the leading cause of new cases of legal blindness in people over the age of 65. Macular degeneration leads to the breakdown of the macula, which is located in the retina. This breakdown eventually diminishes central vision and those afflicted with the disease become unable to perform simple everyday tasks such as reading and driving.

Recent statistics confirm that 3.6 million Americans suffer from macular degeneration and that number is expected to soar to 6.3 million by 2030. Risk factors for macular degeneration include age, family history, smoking and obesity. Women appear to have a slightly higher risk and some studies have suggested that prolonged exposure to ultraviolet light may also increase the likelihood of developing the disease.

Although there are some risk factors, such as family history and gender, which cannot be changed, there are many factors that you can control. Your best defense against macular degeneration is a healthy lifestyle. Because the link between nutrition and eye health is well-documented, many ophthalmologists and optometrists recommend nutritional supplements for patients who wish to protect their precious vision.

Almost all supplements designed to support vision health contain lutein. A potent antioxidant, lutein occurs naturally in carrots, squash and many other orange and yellow fruits and vegetables. Supplements containing lutein combined with certain vitamins, minerals and other antioxidants can both prevent and slow down the progression of macular degeneration. Look for supplements that contain lutein combined with Vitamin A, beta-carotene, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E. The best supplements also contain alpha-lipoic acid, magnesium and manganese. The supplements are available at health food stores.

Given the wealth of information supporting the nutrition/vision connection, it just makes sense to take a nutritional supplement containing lutein. There is an abundance of beauty in the world in which we live and we want to enjoy it to the fullest. Protect your vision so that you can see the wonders of the sunsets, the colors of nature, and most of all, the smiles on the faces of the people you love.