One of the eye health nutrients that is commonly overlooked is copper. Copper is an essential micro mineral that is not only crucial for our general body health but also our eye health. It is needed in trace amounts to support the body’s physiological functions. As one of the vision’s supporting elements, it plays a vital role in maintaining healthy eyesight.
Copper is involved in the maintenance of most of the body tissues including the eye. In particular, copper promotes the growth of the connective tissue of the eye which supports proper eye structure. Adequate amounts of copper are also essential for maintaining the natural texture of the eyes. Copper is involved in the formation of melanin that gives the eye its color.
The eye, compared to other organs is commonly susceptible to oxidative damage due to its high metabolism and exposure to light. As an antioxidant it is involved in the formation of superoxide dismutase the powerhouse of all antioxidants,, copper scavenges for free radicals protecting the eyes from free radical damage and maintaining healthy eyesight. .
Additionally, its role in red blood formation through hemoglobin formation ensures eyes are well oxygenated and nourished. Copper promotes the body storage of iron which is involved in hemoglobin formation. An inadequate supply results in copper-induced anemia where the eyes are not supplied with well oxygenated blood.
Copper-rich sources are required by the body since it cannot store sufficient amounts. Some of the good sources of copper include fish, legumes, vegetables, and fruits. For those who are unable to get enough amounts from the dietary intake, supplementation may be necessary.
Although found in trace amounts in the body it must be obtained through certain foods. According to Hobbs and Bernstein, about 60 to 108 million of the American population is aged 55 years and older suffer an increased incidence of age-related diseases including eye diseases, and the number is bound to double by the year 2030. This is attributed to the inadequate copper intake. Eye manifestations of copper deficiency include vision loss. However, there is also the risk of copper toxicity in case of excessive intake