Vitamin C and Eye Health

Part of the Nutrition and Health book series (NH)

Abstract

Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that is essential for the biosynthesis of collagen, carnitine, and catecholamines. It serves as a strong antioxidant and protects proteins, lipids, and DNA from oxidative damage. The eye contains the highest concentrations of vitamin C found in the human body. Vitamin C is important to eye health because of its role in protecting the proteins of the crystalline lens from oxidation, in serving as a free radical scavenger in the retina, and in promoting wound healing in the cornea. Scurvy, the classic syndrome of vitamin C deficiency, includes some findings of ophthalmological importance, including vascular abnormalities of the conjunctiva, dry eyes, and hemorrhages of the conjunctiva, orbit, anterior chamber, and retina. Vitamin C may become increasingly important to ocular health with demographic changes such as increasing life span and a larger aging population, and with the continued depletion of the stratospheric ozone layer (1).

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