Nutrients to Reduce Digital Eye Strain

by Michelle Tie
Chief Dietitian
LifeCare Diagnostic Medical Centre, Kuala Lumpur

Nowadays adults are spending about 11 hours a day on screen, whether computer, phone, TV or any electronic devices. This is unavoidable for those office workers who spend up to nine hours in front of their working desks.
Other than screen time or family history that can affect eye health, research does show that an individual’s diet can impact eye health.

There are a few important nutrients that can help to reduce risk of eye problems such as eye strain, dry eyes, and cataract.

1. Antioxidants

Antioxidant is a nutrient that protects the body cells from damage caused by free radicals. There are a few different types of antioxidants such as Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, lutein and zeaxanthin. Vitamin A mainly protects the surface of the eyes from bacteria and viruses, reducing the risk of eye infections.

Vitamin C is another powerful antioxidant that promotes healthy blood vessels including the fine and delicate capillaries in the eyes. It is helpful to prevent cataracts, but it helps with overall eye health too. Whereas, Vitamin E has the power to protect against eye tissue damage caused by free radicals.

2. Lutein and Zeaxanthin

Blue light is everywhere–sunlight, fluorescent and LED lightning and the display screen of electronic devices. Too much blue light can damage the sensitive cells in the retina that can affect eye health. Blue light is also the main cause of digital eye strain. Lutein and zeaxanthin can absorb blue light that damages the eyes.

3. Zinc

Zinc is an essential mineral for eye health. Zinc helps to carry Vitamin A from liver to eyes to produce melanin. Both zinc and melanin protect the eyes from oxidative stress caused by light exposure.

4. Omega-3

Dry eye syndrome is one of the most common eye problems that is caused by inadequate production of tears or tears production that evaporates too quickly. Omega-3 is mainly known for the cardiovascular, brain and immune system benefit. Other than that, Omega-3 is shown to reduce the risk of dry eye syndrome and relieve the symptom because of the anti-inflammatory effect. 

Here are top foods for eye health that should be included in your diet.

Vitamin A

  • Carrot
  • Mango
  • Pumpkin
  • Apricot
  • Spinach

Vitamin C

  • Citrus fruits e.g: orange, grapefruit, lemon
  • Kiwi
  • Capsicum

Vitamin E

  • Vegetable oil
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli

Lutein & zeaxanthin

  • Green leafy vegetables 
  • Green pea
  • Pumpkin
  • Carrot

Zinc

  • Oyster
  • Beans 
  • Meat & poultry
  • Zinc fortified food e.g: cereal

Omega-3

  • Fatty fish
  • Nuts
  • Omega-3 fortified egg

Fill half of your plate with a variety of fruits and vegetables to help increase the intake of antioxidants. Use healthy oil and consume fish, mainly fatty fish at least once or twice a week to increase the intake of Omega-3 that is beneficial for the eyes.