A close up on a woman's left eye
Vitamin C has been found to boost eye health [Photo: Wikimedia Commons]

Vitamin C gives a “surprising” boost to eye health

15 July, 2011

People worried about their eye health should review their diets to ensure they are getting enough of vitamin C, according to new research.

The link between vitamin C and eye health has not been well established and the researchers say their findings are “surprising”. But this laboratory study, carried out by the Oregon Health & Science University and published in the Journal of Neuroscience found that vitamin C is required in quite large amounts for the eye to function property.

Retinal cells share some characteristics with brain cells, among them special receptors called GABA-type receptors that help manage the rapid transfer of information between cells.  New research shows that in retinal cells these receptors require relatively high levels of vitamin C.  Without it, they stop functioning properly.  This may be due to the antioxidant properties of vitamin C, which would help to protect the receptors from breaking down.

Because retinal cells are close in both proximity and structure to brain cells, the scientists now speculate that vitamin C may also play a critical role in the proper function of the brain, though more study is necessary to understand how the brain uses vitamin C.