In a recent newsletter, we highlighted top tips to Protect Your Vision Health as You Age which includes wearing sun glasses to protect your eyes from damaging UVA and UVB rays. Ironically, sunlight may also support healthy vision through its role in vitamin D production.
A new study found that the sunshine vitamin was associated with a reduction in amyloid beta, a risk factor for age-related vision problems.
Aging and the Eyes
With age, deposits of amyloid beta can accumulate in our eyes, reducing blood supply and increasing the risk of damage to the structures and functions of the eyes.
One structure that may be affected by amyloid beta is the macula, a small yellow spot on the retina. The yellow color is due to the content of the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, which we get from our diet. These carotenoids filter out the harmful blue light that can damage cells in the eye.
Therefore reduced circulation means fewer carotenoids and a thinner macular pigment which can allow the blue light through to damage the cells.
In the study, lab mice that received vitamin D supplementation for six weeks had reductions in the levels of amyloid beta. The vitamin was also associated with reductions in markers for inflammation.
Other human studies have also shown that higher blood levels of vitamin D decreased the risk of damage to the macula.