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Omega-3 and five other nutrients for the eye

Pink blossoms, bright yellow cupcakes, a sunset, your children's red cheeks and smiling faces when they have played outside. All things your eyes can register and see. We usually think our eyes and vision are the most normal thing in the world, but behind our eyes is a whole system and network that makes sure you can actually see. In addition, our eyes also need certain nutrients including omega-3.

What are our eyes like?

The eye is a complex organ made up of different parts that work together to make our vision possible. Below you can read the explanation of the different parts of the eye:

  1. Cornea: The cornea is a clear, dome-shaped part at the front of the eye. It helps refract light rays and protects the eye from harmful external influences.
  2. Pupil: The pupil is the opening in the center of the iris that controls the amount of light entering the eye.
  3. Iris: The iris controls how much light enters the eye by opening and closing the pupil. In high light, the pupil gets smaller, and in low light, the pupil gets larger. This allows our eyes to adapt to different light conditions and ensure good vision.
  4. Lens: Behind the iris is the lens. This is a clear structure that can change shape to refract light and focus it on the retina, where images are formed.
  5. Retina: The retina is at the back of the eye and contains two types of light-sensitive cells: cones and rods. Cones help see colors and details, while rods help see in the dark.
  6. Optic nerve: The optic nerve consists of a bundle of nerve fibers that send signals from the retina to the brain for processing into images.
  7. Eye chamber: The anterior chamber of the eye, between the cornea and lens, is filled with chamber water that supplies nutrients to the cornea and lens, and helps maintain the shape of the eye.
  8. Vitreous body: This jelly-like tissue behind the lens helps maintain the shape of the eye.

From our eye to the brain: how can we see?

When you look at something, light enters through your pupil (the black opening in your eye). The lens in your eye helps to bend the light and focus the image on your retina. The retina, at the back of your eye, contains cells that respond to light. These cells capture the image and convert it into electrical signals. The electrical signals from the retina travel along the optic nerve to your brain. In the brain, these signals are processed into an image that you can see and understand. This happens very quickly, so you can see almost instantly what is happening in front of you.

In short, the light enters your eye, is converted into electrical signals by your retina and then sent to your brain, where it is processed into the image you see.

Looking through the eyes of babies

Vision works differently for babies than it does for adults. This is because at birth, babies' vision is not yet fully developed. Newborn babies can only see sharply at short distances, approximately up to a distance of 20 to 30 centimeters. This is about the distance between their face and their mother's face while feeding. Vision is still weak. They often see the world blurred and have difficulty seeing details.

Babies' ability to see depth and estimate distances develops as they get older. Babies' color vision is also not fully developed at birth. They see the world mainly in black and white and shades of gray.

6x nutrition for your eyes

From babies again to your adult eyes. After all, there are all kinds of nutrients you can put on your plate that will make your eyes happy:

  1. Astaxanthin: This antioxidant is found in salmon, trout, shrimp, lobster and crab, among others.
  2. Omega-3 fatty acids: Essential fatty acids such as EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) are important for our eyes. DHA specifically is good for vision and helps maintain sharp vision. Omega-2 is found in oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, tuna and sardines, as well as flaxseed, chia seeds and walnuts.
    Do you eat little or no fish? Then a fish oil or vegetable algae oil is an option!
  3. Lutein and zeaxanthin: These carotenoids are present in green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, broccoli and Brussels sprouts, as well as in yellow and orange vegetables such as corn, peppers and squash.
  4. Fat-soluble vitamins A and E: Vitamin A is found in liver, sweet potatoes, carrots, kale and eggs. Vitamin E is found in nuts, seeds, vegetable oils and green leafy vegetables.
  5. Vitamin C: Vitamin C is found in citrus fruits such as oranges, kiwis, strawberries, as well as bell peppers, broccoli and kale.
  6. Zinc: This mineral plays a role in retinal function and is found in oysters, red meat, poultry, pumpkin seeds, and legumes such as lentils and chickpeas.

In conclusion

Our eyes play an important role in our daily lives. Imagine not being able to see that sunset, beautiful blossoms, colorful cupcakes and the little faces of your (grand)children.

It is therefore important to take care of them, including with proper nutrition. Nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamins A, C and E, and zinc all do their part for our eyes. Fortunately, these nutrients can be found in a variety of foods. These include green leafy vegetables, fatty fish such as salmon and mackerel, nuts and seeds, and colorful fruits and vegetables. In this way, our little windows stay sharp looking out into the world.