Vitamin A is one of the essential nutrients for a healthy body, as it is necessary for growth, immune function, and vision health, it contributes also to the normal functions of the kidneys, heart, and lungs. But in this article, we will discuss the health benefits of vitamin A for eyes.
Health benefits of vitamin A for eyes
Why is Vitamin A necessary for the Eyes? And what are the health benefits of vitamin A for the eyes? One of the most health benefits vitamin A has for our eyes is preventing vision loss and macular degeneration. It also strengthens the immune system, helping alleviate eye inflammation and preventing eye infections.
1. Reduces the risk of developing cataracts and other eye diseases
People who eat more vitamin A in their diet are less likely to develop cataracts. An analysis from Qingdao University in 2014, including 22 studies, indicated that there is a relationship between increased consumption of vitamin A and beta-carotene and also a decrease in the incidence of cataracts. (1)
Also, a preliminary study published in the journal Original Contribution in 2005 indicated that eating foods high in beta-carotene may be associated with a reduced risk of age-related macular degeneration. (2)
Severe vitamin A deficiency may lead to xerophthalmia (dehydrated conjunctiva). So, it is a condition that leads to dry tears and the inability to produce tears.
2. Reduces the risk of pregnancy-related night blindness:
Taking vitamin A during pregnancy by malnourished women can reduce their risk of night blindness, which may affect them by up to 37%. (3)
On the other hand, a review published in Nutrients magazine in 2019, indicated that pregnant women should not consume vitamin A supplements in order to reduce the risk of the death to the mother and fetus, except by women suffer from vitamin A deficiency.
So, it is an essential nutrient for a pregnant woman and the fetus. For his role in plastic development, practical, and eye safety. (4)
3. Reduces the development of retinitis pigmentosa
It is a genetic disease that affects the eye and leads to vision loss, and its symptoms include decreased vision at night and side vision. So, vitamin A slows the development of this inflammation that harms the retina.
A study published in JAMA Ophthalmology in 2018 indicated that taking vitamin A supplements by 55 children with retinitis pigmentosa helps slow the speed of retina damage. (5)
Also, a study published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews in 2013, found that vitamin A supplements did not have a good effect in enhancing visual acuity or its extent for people with retinitis pigmentosa. (6)
4. Improves the speed of recovery after laser eye surgery (photoreactive keratectomy)
Taking vitamin A along with vitamin E helps to heal after laser eye surgery. A study from the University of Bari in Italy in 2001 indicated that they divided the participants who had undergone laser eye surgery into two groups. One of them received a certain amount of retinol supplements, a vitamin A derivative with a vitamin E derivative, and another group that did not take these vitamins. After 360 days, in the eye wound, the time to remodel the epithelium, which represents the cells’ accumulation to cover the body’s organs, was faster. It may also reduce the cloudiness that may occur in the cornea after the operation. (7)
The recommended daily intake of vitamin A
The following table shows the recommended daily amounts of vitamin A: (8)
Babies 0 to 6 months of age: 400 mcg
Babies 7 to 12 months old: 500 mcg
Chidren 1 to 3 years of age: 300 mcg
Children, 4 to 8 years old: 400 mcg
Boys and girls, ages 9 to 13: 600 mcg
Young men 14-18 years: 900 μg
Young girls 14-18 years: 700 mcg
Pregnant women 14-18 years: 750 mcg
Breastfeeding ages 14 to 18 years: 1,200 mcg
Men 19 to 51 years of age and over: 900 mcg
Women 19 51 years of age and over: 700 mcg
Pregnant women 19 to 50 years: 770 mcg
Breastfeeding ages 19 to 50: 1300 mcg