Healthy eyesight depends on essential nutrients such as vitamins. Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin necessary for both systemic and ocular wellbeing. Strictly speaking, it is a prehormone like vitamin that functions to regulate, body cells, tissues, organs, and organ systems. Often it is associated with the maintenance of healthy bones and teeth. However, Vitamin D3 is also one of the “eye vitamins” that helps maintain eye health. Playing a critical roll in eye health it also promotes the creation and formation of strong bones and immunity.
First, various studies have linked vitamin D with reduced risk of age related macular degeneration. Vitamin D can rejuvenate aging eyes. It can reduce retinal inflammation and the levels of amyloid beta accumulation that is responsible for aging related eye complications, in particular, AMD. Notably, Vitamin D3 action is on the central retina that represents the region of greatest visual acuity.
Age-related Macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of vision loss in the United States according to the National Eye Institute, approximately 9 million Americans above the age of 40 suffer from macular degeneration, whereas up to 25 million people are affected globally. Individuals suffering from AMD have been shown to have lower blood levels of vitamin D3. According to research done in women below the age of 75, those with higher levels of vitamin D were associated with a lower risk of macular degeneration.
Vitamin D also prevents dry eye, whereby the eyes do not have adequate moisture. Vitamin D prevents dry eye by promoting the production of cathelicidin, a type of protein that is produced by eye cells. Cathelicidin also helps in the healing of eye wounds. Dry eyes are sensitive to light, stinging and cause discomfort.
The vitamin is also necessary for promoting the corneal epithelial barrier function that protects the cornea. Small amounts of vitamin D in aqueous humor, vitreous humor, and tear fluid also help maintain eye health. Above all, vitamin D is crucial in facilitating cell growth, immune supportive function, and a healthy inflammation response, processes that also benefit the eye.