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Many of us go through life taking our vision for granted. When our eyes are healthy we may not stop to appreciate the magic of seeing a grandchild’s smile or the flowers blooming in our garden. But around 80% of our memories are determined by what we see.1 Surely, we would want to do everything we can to take care of our eye health to keep making lasting memories.
Around 80% of our memories are determined by what we see.1
Many of the complex structures of the eye do not undergo processes of biological renewal.2 That means, unlike the skin which is constantly renewing, there are parts of the eye that once they are fully developed, do not change. In fact, your eyeballs stay the same size from birth until death while your ears and nose continue to grow!1 This means it is really important to take a proactive approach to eye health.
Light passes through the outer portion of the eye called the cornea. The cornea starts to focus the light and it passes through the black spot in the center of the eye called the pupil. The pupil changes size to allow more or less light in depending on the environment. On a bright sunny day the pupils will shrink in size, while in a dark, dimly-lit room the pupils will dilate to let in as much light as possible.
The light then passes through the lens which further focuses it on the back of the eye called the retina. The lens changes shape depending on whether we are looking at objects up close or far away in the distance.
The retina is a special membrane along the inside of the eye that contains specialized cells called photoreceptors. When light reaches these photoreceptor cells, they release signals that are carried along the optic nerve and delivered to the brain. The brain then translates these messages into the images that we see. Vision is a very complex process that relies on the intricate parts of the eye working together with each other and the brain.
Retina: a membrane along the back of the eye, the retina contains specialized cells called photoreceptors.
Cornea: the outermost portion of the front of the eye. It is transparent.
Iris: controls the size of the pupil. This is the portion of the eye that gives it its color.
Lens: located behind the iris, the lens focuses light onto the retina. This portion of the eye is nearly clear but can become clouded with age.
Pupil: allows light to enter the eye. The pupil appears black.
Macula: a region of the retina with a very high concentration of photoreceptor cells. The macula is essential for central vision or looking at objects straight in front of us.
Vitreous Humor: gel-like substance that fills the eyeball, giving the eye its shape.
Optic Nerve: located at the back of the eye ball, the optic nerve sends visual information from the retina to the brain.
Human eyes contain a small blind spot where the optic nerve connects to the retina.
Our brains use information from the other eye to fill in the gap so it is rarely, if ever, noticed.
Age can take a toll on our eye health. Over 2 million individuals of all races in the US have age-related concerns about their eye health. These numbers are projected to continue to grow over the next 20-30 years.3
LED devices such as televisions, computers, smartphones, tablets, and video game consoles emit high amounts of the high energy blue light. Blue light may cause oxidative stress and even free radical damage to the eyes. Plus, staring at a computer all day can be tiring for your eyes, and the more you work on a computer, the more your eyes can be affected. It is reported the average American has over ten hours of screen time each day.4
Even when we are at rest, our cells and organs are busy performing functions to keep us going. These processes can create free radicals which are unstable compounds. If free radicals are left unchecked, they can lead to oxidative stress and the premature aging of cells. Since the cells in our eyes are constantly busy receiving visual inputs and sending signals to the brain, they can naturally generate a lot of free radicals. Things like smoking and sun exposure can further exacerbate free radical production and make it more difficult for your body to fight free radicals.
Eating a healthy diet with a wide variety of food from all the food groups will help ensure you are getting adequate nutrients to nourish your eyes. Important nutrients to include in your diet to help maintain eye health are vitamin A and its precursors like beta-carotene, as well as the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin. Vitamin A is found in foods like liver and fish liver oils, egg yolks and whole milk.
Beta-carotene is found in colorful plant-based foods including carrots, sweet potatoes, and leafy green vegetables. Leafy green vegetables provide lutein as well, and zeaxanthin can be found in orange-colored plant-based foods like orange peppers, corn, and mangoes.
Dietary supplements are another easy way to ensure you are getting enough of these eye nourishing nutrients every day.**
Were you ever told as a child to eat all of your carrots because they were good for your eyesight? Your parents may have just been trying to get you to eat your vegetables but it turns out there is some truth to this popular adage. Carrots provide vitamin A which is essential for good vision.**
The retina of the eye contains specialized cells called photoreceptors which are responsible for detecting light and in turn sending a signal to the brain which is eventually converted into an image. There are two different types of photoreceptors, ones that are particularly good at seeing colors in bright light and others that see greyscale images in dim light. Vitamin A is an essential component of the signaling process that occurs in the visual cycle for color vision and low-light vision.** As such, vitamin A is important for maintaining healthy vision and nutritionally supports eye health.**
Vitamin A can be found in both plant- and animal-based foods. In animal foods, vitamin A is found in a form that is readily used by the body. Animal-based sources of vitamin A include liver and fish liver oils, eggs, and whole milk. Many plant foods contain vitamin A precursors such as beta-carotene that must be converted to bioactive forms of vitamin A in the body. These include many colorful fruits and vegetables like sweet potatoes, carrots and mangoes, as well as leafy green vegetables.
Dietary intake data shows that almost 60% of Americans do not get enough vitamin A from food alone.5
The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for vitamin A is 700 mcg for adult women and 900mcg for men. If you are one of the many not meeting the daily recommendations, dietary supplements are an invaluable tool for filling in those nutritional gaps and to help maintain the health of your eyes**
Lutein (pronounced loo-teen) and zeaxanthin (pronounced zee-uh-zan-thin) are types of pigments found in plants called carotenoids. Carotenoids are what give many fruits and vegetables their bright red, orange and yellow colors. The name lutein actually comes from the Latin word luteus which literally means yellow. Carotenoids play vital roles in the growth and safety of many different plants but when they are consumed in a healthy diet, they offer benefits to humans as well.**
Even though they cannot be produced in the body, lutein and zeaxanthin from the diet are stored in the eyes. In fact, lutein and zeaxanthin are the only carotenoids found in appreciable levels in the macula.3 The macula is the area of the retina with a high concentration of specialized photoreceptor cells and is responsible for sharp focus on objects straight in front of you. With so much light entering the eye, and the cellular activity of sending these visual signals to the brain, the retina is an area of high oxidative stress.
Lutein helps filter out high energy blue light from the sun and artificial light before it reaches those important photoreceptor cells.** Blue light may otherwise induce oxidative stress and possible free-radical damage to the eyes. Zeaxanthin is preferentially placed in the very center of the macula. This is the area most responsible for sharp, central vision. Due to this positioning, zeaxanthin may provide additional benefits to lutein supplements for eye health.** Lutein and zeaxanthin both nutritionally support the health of your eyes to support healthy vision.**
Lutein and Zeaxanthin are not made in the body so they must be obtained through the diet. Dark leafy green vegetables are particularly good sources of lutein and it can also be found in small amounts in egg yolks and avocados.6 Dietary sources of zeaxanthin include many orange-colored foods such mangoes, orange juice, corn, and orange peppers.6 On average, Americans are estimated to get less than 2mg of lutein per day through food alone7 and the lutein: zeaxanthin ratio in the diet is about 5:1.SHOP LUTEIN SHOP ZEAXANTHIN
Bilberry is a woody, perennial shrub that is related to blueberries and cranberries. The name bilberry comes from the Danish word bollebar meaning "dark berry" and describes the shrub’s dark indigo berries. The use of these berries in traditional health practices dates back to at least the Middle Ages.8
Throughout Europe, bilberry was used for a variety of health purposes but its popularity for eye health was established during World War II. British Royal Airforce pilots would consume bilberry jam before flying in the dark as a traditional way to support eye health.**
Bilberry fruits are sold as fresh, frozen, or dried whole berries. While these berries can make a great addition to a healthy diet, it can be difficult to rely on eating enough bilberry fruits every day to reap all of their eye health benefits.** A standardized bilberry fruit can ensure you are getting the proper amount of the active components found within these fruits to help maintain healthy eye function.**SHOP BILBERRY
There are many dietary and lifestyle approaches you can take to help maintain your eye health. A comprehensive approach to eye health will work best so incorporate as many of these recommendations as possible. Steps that you would take for a healthy body will also benefit the health of your eyes. Eat a wide variety of colorful fruits and vegetables to nourish your eyes with a variety of nutrients. Consider adding a dietary supplement specially formulated for eye health for extra nourishment.** Getting physically active can also benefit eye health – a healthy body often means healthy eyes.
Physically protect your eyes when going outside with sunglasses, even on cloudy days. It is also important to wear protective eyewear when participating in certain activities like home repairs. Try and limit your screen time or at least give your eyes a rest. Follow the 20 rule – for every 20 minutes of screen time, take a break to look at an object 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.9
Eating a healthy diet with a wide variety of food from all the food groups will help ensure you are getting adequate nutrients to nourish your eyes. Important nutrients to include in your diet to help maintain eye health are vitamin A and its precursors like beta-carotene, as well as the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin. Vitamin A is found in foods like liver and fish liver oils, egg yolks and whole milk. Beta-carotene is found in colorful plant-based foods including carrots, sweet potatoes, and leafy green vegetables. Leafy green vegetables provide lutein as well, and zeaxanthin can be found in orange-colored plant-based foods like orange peppers, corn, and mangoes. Dietary supplements are another easy way to ensure you are getting enough of these eye nourishing nutrients every day.**
There are a wide variety of vitamins and nutrients that are integral for healthy vision and they each have their own role to play. Vitamin A and its precursor beta-carotene are especially good for supporting your vision at night.** The carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin are important for the macula, the portion of the eye responsible for sharp, central vision.** Although not vitamins, some herbal supplements such as bilberry have special properties that also make them good for your eyes.** Puritan’s Pride® has a wide variety of nutritional supplements that are specially formulated to support eye health so you can take the guesswork out of it.**
Digital devices like computers emit a certain type of high energy light called blue light. Blue light can cause oxidative stress and be damaging to the eyes. On top of that, staring at a computer all day can cause eye strain and the longer you are on a computer, the more your eyes are affected. One thing office workers, students, and anyone who spends a lot of time looking at screens can do is follow the 20 rule. For every 20 minutes of screen time, take a break to look at an object 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.9 Additionally, it may be of particular importance for digital device users to ensure their eyes are getting the proper nutrition. Doses of 12mg of Lutein help protect eyes from blue light.**
Even if you do not need corrective lenses, it is still important to tend to your eye health. The health of our eyes goes beyond just being able to clearly see what is in front of us. The National Eye Institute of the NIH recommends all healthy individuals get a comprehensive eye exam every 1-2 years after age 60. If you have increased risk or a family history of eye concerns, routine eye exams may need to occur earlier and more frequently.
While it is true that lutein and zeaxanthin are naturally stored in the macula of healthy eyes, the body cannot produce its own lutein or zeaxanthin. They only way to get lutein and zeaxanthin is through the diet. While these carotenoids are found in a variety of foods such as leafy green vegetables, peppers, mangoes, and egg yolks, many Americans still do not get enough of these important nutrients through diet alone for optimal eye health.**
Many of the same lifestyle choices you would make for a healthy body will also have benefits for your eye health. Often times a healthy body is indicative of healthy eyes. Participating in regular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight can help maintain overall health that extends to your eyes as well. So next time you get your blood pumping just know that your eyes are thanking you too.
|Serving Size 1 Softgel|
|Amount Per Serving||% Daily Value|
|Lutigold™ Lutein||6 mg **|
|Zeaxanthin from Marigold||4 mg **|
|(Tagetes erecta) (flower)|
|Bilberry Extract||20 mg **|
|(Vaccinium myrtillus) (fruit)|
|(a 4:1 Extract, equivalent to 80 mg of Bilberry)|
|**Daily Value not established.|
No Artificial Flavor or Sweetener, No Preservatives, No Sugar, No Starch, No Milk, No Lactose, No Soy, No Gluten, No Wheat, No Yeast, No Fish, Sodium Free.
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