How Does Vitamin A Help Improve Eye Health?

old message How Does Vitamin A Help Improve Eye Health? Darrell Miller 08/23/11

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Date: August 23, 2011 12:39 PM
Subject: How Does Vitamin A Help Improve Eye Health?

Vitamin A which was discovered from a research dating back to 1906 is a vitamin that is essential to the retina of the eye in the form of a specific metabolite. Retinal which is a light-absorbing molecule is absolutely necessary for both low-light (scotopic vision) and color vision. In the meat that we consume daily, the main form of vitamin A is an ester, primarily retinyl palmitate, which is converted to the retinol (chemically an alcohol) in the small intestine. It is also called retinol because it produces the pigments in the retina of the eye.

Vitamin A was the first fat-soluble vitamin to be discovered and it’s basically made up of a family of compounds called the retinoids due to the activity of retinol. It also aids in the formation and maintenance of healthy skin, mucus membranes, skeletal and soft tissue and teeth. Vitamin A essentially has 3 forms: retinols, beta carotenes, and carotenoids.

Eye Health

For maintenance of eye health, vitamin A is an essential nutrient. Commonly Vitamin A is acquired when food that contains this Vitamin is consumed. Lack of vitamin A causes eye diseases and it has been found that vitamin A deficiency is the single greatest preventable cause of childhood blindness aside from other known symptoms like abnormal visual adaptation to darkness and dry skin among others.

How is vitamin A important to the eye?

Vitamin A helps to maintain good health in cells in different structures of the eye and is required for converting light into nerve signals into the retina. When the body’s Vitamin A needs are not met, gradual changes begin to take shape and negatively affect the eye. The first sign of a problem for most is summed up in a condition called night blindness. This is when individuals have a hard time adjusting to darkness. Also, without adequate Vitamin A for extended periods of time will lead to other deceases like Xerophthalmia(is a medical condition in which the eye fails to produce tears) and complete blindness since Vitamin A has a major role in phototransduction( a process by which light is converted into electrical signals into the retina of the eye).

Nyctalopia(Night Blindedness) - is a condition making it difficult or impossible to see in relatively low light and this is most common among young children and pregnant women. The main cause of this is retinitis pigmentosa which is a group of genetic eye conditions that eventually will lead to incurable blindness after a long period of time. However one other cause to be found is lack of vitamin A. In summation, Vitamin A aids in overall improved vision. It enables your eyes to adjust to light changes and keep the eyes moist and also improves night vision. Sufficient Vitamin A will ensure a healthy retina by increasing the adaptability of the human eyes. It can also significantly cut down the risks of macular degeneration and cataracts, which is associated with ageing. And lastly it is also thought to be beneficial for people suffering from glaucoma.

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