How gamers and athletes should supplement for eye health

Eye health is important for everyone, but gamers and athletes need to pay particular attention to their eyes to keep their vision at an optimal level. Did you know that several vision supplements have been found to contribute to overall eye health? You already know you need the proper nutrients to keep your body and mind healthy, but don't overlook vitamins for eye health. Read on to learn why this is so important and how you can do it.

Why is visual health so critical to athletes and gamers?

Vision is key for optimal performance for gamers and athletes. Good vision can affect how well you play your sport or game. And it's more than the ability to see clearly. The following visual skills are some of the most important for achieving your best performance.

  • Eye-tracking: the motion of your eye when you're following a moving object.
  • Visual concentration: the ability to ignore other distractions and maintain your focus.
  • Dynamic visual acuity: the ability to see moving objects clearly.
  • Depth perception: the ability to judge the distance between objects.
  • Color vision: the ability to see colors clearly.
  • Visual memory: the processing of complex information, including people and things. For example, a basketball player dribbling the ball up the court needs to use visual memory to keep track of everything happening around them.

A healthy macula contributes to visual performance

The macula of the eye is located in the center of the retina. Although it's very small at five millimeters across, it's responsible for central vision. This is your vision straight on, not when you see out of the sides of your eyes. Not only is the macula important to overall eye health, it's especially important to athletes and gamers. This is because it is responsible for visual processing speed, glare recovery and contrast sensitivity.

The macula is the part of the eye where light is focused. It takes a picture of what you see and sends the picture to the brain. While your retina provides the peripheral vision, it's the macula that lets you see in great detail. The macula is the area of the eye responsible for 20/20 vision.

How can you keep your macula healthy and functioning at its best?

Lutein and zeaxanthin: important to eye health supplements

Lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants found in many vision supplements, play a large role in the functioning of the eye and are concentrated in the macula. They're carotenoids, the plant pigments responsible for the bright colors of certain fruits and vegetables such as carrots, squash and spinach. They not only provide pigment to plants but contribute to our overall health as well.

A wide range of carotenoids exists in nature, but interestingly, only three types are found to accumulate in the eye:

  • Lutein.
  • Zeaxanthin.
  • Meso-zeaxanthin.

Meso-zeaxanthin isn't found in nature, but produced in our retina, using lutein. This is why you generally don't find it in supplements for the eyes. But what your body does need more of are lutein and zeaxanthin. These dietary carotenoids are responsible for protecting the most sensitive part of your eye. They support the macula and your ocular health in general and are necessary for clear vision, eye health and strong visual skills.

What does science say?

A study conducted at the University of Wisconsin reviewed evidence spanning the past three decades on carotenoids and eye health. The researchers found that lutein and zeaxanthin play important roles in vision health and performance.

Another study found that supplements of lutein and zeaxanthin reduced the risk of developing long term eye health issues.

Lutein and zeaxanthin have been found to protect the eyes against photosensitivity and light damage. Supplements of these carotenoids increase the amount of them in the eye, protecting the eye from age-related damage.

A study conducted on baseball players determined that supplements containing lutein and zeaxanthin can support eye health by boosting a diet lacking in fruit and vegetables. Data has suggested that the carotenoids can increase visual distance, improve glare discomfort and shorten recovery from light damage.

The importance of a healthy diet: vitamins for eyes

Eye health vitamins are found in many fruits and vegetables. Eating a variety of foods high in lutein and zeaxanthin will keep your eyes performing optimally. These are great sources of carotenoids for eye health.

  • Pumpkins.
  • Squash.
  • Carrots.
  • Green leafy vegetables, such as kale and spinach.
  • Avocado.
  • Broccoli.
  • Bell peppers.
  • Grapes.

The bottom line

Although everyone knows the importance of a healthy and balanced diet, there are times when you may benefit from a dietary supplement to fill any gaps. As you've seen, lutein and zeaxanthin are vital for ocular health. And athletes and gamers, in particular, need their eyes functioning at an optimal level.

You can turn to good quality eye health supplements to help keep your eyes in top shape. Make sure your supplements come from a good source, and when you're pursuing eye health, check the ingredients for lutein and zeaxanthin. Following a healthy diet and adding supplements are sure ways to keep your eyes at their best.


Resources

https://www.allaboutvision.com/sportsvision/carotenoids-performance.htm

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5611842/

https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/96/5/1207S/4577188

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/eye-vitamins#section8

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/326758.php

https://health.clevelandclinic.org/should-you-take-vitamins-for-eye-health/

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