06.07.21

International Sports Vision Association and Macuhealth Offer New Educational Resource on Sports Nutrition for Your Eyes

Source: International Sports Vision Association

The International Sports Vision Association (ISVA) and MacuHealth announced the launch of “Sports Nutrition for Your Eyes,” a new educational resource on the ISVA website designed to help educate athletes about how proper nutrition can have preventive and protective benefits for their overall well-being‚ improve their vision and eye health, and help enhance their sports performance. 

“While many athletes may be somewhat knowledgeable about general nutrition, they most likely have limited or no understanding about the importance of consuming certain nutrients that can help keep eyes healthy and sustain optimal visual performance,” Jarrod Davies, OD, FCOVD, ISVA Vice President-Education, said in a ISVA news release. “In addition to helping to lower the risk of developing certain eye diseases like age-related macular degeneration and cataracts, research has shown that certain nutritional supplements, when added to a well-balanced diet, can play a role in maintaining or enhancing visual abilities that are important for sports performance.”

Athletes can spend hours and hours training to improve their physical attributes; however, if their vision or visual processing capabilities are inadequate, their athletic performance will likely suffer. “Although a good diet is certainly beneficial to vision, often targeted supplementation can play an important role in helping athletes achieve their goals,” Jim Stringham, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer, MacuHealth, said in the news release. “Several published studies show that good nutrition, specifically high levels of the macular carotenoids lutein, zeaxanthin, and meso-zeaxanthin, have measurable effects on several parameters of visual performance that can benefit sports performance.”1,2,3

Sports Nutrition for Your Eyes includes some real world examples of visual performance measures that can benefit from proper nutrition and supplementation, offers links to several resources with information on how certain vitamins and minerals can contribute to eye health, and provides practical advice on what to look for before selecting a supplement. It also includes a downloadable PDF that practitioners can post on their websites or print for distribution in their offices.

Also, on the ISVA website, Introducing Nutritional Supplements into your Sports Vision Practice offers eye care practitioners advice on introducing dietary supplements into their practice. Dr. Davies recommends colleagues ask manufacturers to provide independent studies that demonstrate whether their advertised claims are backed by scientific or anecdotal evidence. Additionally, he advises both athletes and eye care professionals to look for brands that have been certified by an independent third-party company, such as NSF International, an independent and accredited non-governmental organization that provides consumers with safer choices when selecting dietary supplements and functional foods.

Products that are NSF Certified for Sport certify that what is on the label is in the bottle and that the product does not contain unsafe levels of contaminants, prohibited substances or masking agents. It also means that supplement manufacturers and their suppliers meet stringent certification guidelines developed through a consensus process involving regulatory, sports industry and consumer groups. 4

“Optimal sports performance coincides with optimal nutritional support for the visual system,” says Dr. Davies “A proper sports nutrition plan for the eyes should be an integral part of an athlete’s sports vision training regimen. Incorporating dietary supplements into your practice can improve patient outcomes, increase patient satisfaction, and lead to referrals from happy patients.”

References

  1. Stringham JM, Stringham NT, O’Brien KJ. Macular Carotenoid Supplementation Improves Visual Performance, Sleep Quality, and Adverse Physical Symptoms in Those with High Screen Time Exposure. Foods. 2017 Jun 29;6(7):47.
  2. Stringham JM, Garcia PV, Smith PA, McLin LN, Foutch BK. Macular pigment and visual performance in glare: benefits for photostress recovery, disability glare, and visual discomfort. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2011 Sep 22;52(10):7406-15.
  3. Bovier ER, Hammond BR. A randomized placebo-controlled study on the effects of lutein and zeaxanthin on visual processing speed in young healthy subjects. Arch Biochem Biophys. 2015 Apr 15;572:54-57.
  4. NSF International Certified for Sport program https://www.nsfsport.com/about-us/,  Accessed 4/21/21

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