A Guide to Nutrition for Healthy Eyes

November 15, 2017

Most people have heard that eating carrots will keep eyes healthy. But, are carrots the only food that benefit your eyes? There are multiple vitamins and minerals that play key roles in eye health, including Omega-3s, zinc and carotenoids. Eating a balanced diet goes a long way in preventing eye disease.

Read below to learn more about the recommended foods for healthy eyes.

Vitamin A

Benefits: Vitamin A may protect against night blindness and dry eyes

Food Sources: Beef or chicken liver; eggs, butter, milk

Vitamin C

Benefits: Vitamin C may reduce the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration

Food Sources: Sweet peppers (red or green), kale, strawberries, broccoli, oranges, cantaloupe

Vitamin D

Benefits: Vitamin D may reduce the risk of macular degeneration

Food Sources: Salmon, sardines, mackerel, milk, orange juice fortified with vitamin D

Vitamin E

Benefits: Vitamin E, when combined with vitamin C, may reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration

Food Sources: Almonds, sunflower seeds, hazelnuts

Beta-carotene

Benefits: Beta-carotene, when combined with zinc and vitamin C may reduce the progression of macular degeneration

Food Sources: Carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale, butternut squash

Bioflavonoids

Benefits: Bioflavonoids may help reduce the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration

Food Sources: Tea, red wine, citrus fruits, bilberries, blueberries, cherries, legumes, soy products

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Benefits: Omega-3 fatty acids may help prevent macular degeneration and dry eyes

Food Sources: Cold-water fish such as salmon, mackerel and herring; fish oil supplements, freshly ground flaxseeds, walnuts

Lutein and Zeaxanthin

Lutein and zeaxanthin are two types of carotenoids, which are yellow to red pigments found widely in vegetables and other plants.

Benefits: These carotenoids may help prevent macular degeneration and cataracts

Food Sources: Spinach, kale, turnip greens, collard greens, squash

Selenium

Benefits: When combined with carotenoids and vitamins C and E, selenium may reduce the risk of macular degeneration

Food Sources: Seafood (shrimp, crab, salmon, halibut), Brazil nuts, enriched noodles, brown rice

Zinc

Benefits: Zinc, along with vitamin A, can help reduce the risk of night blindness

Food Sources: Oysters, beef, turkey (dark meat)

Eye Health

For aging eyes, some studies suggest that sufficient intake of the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin may help lower the risk of eye conditions that can accompany aging, such as cataracts and macular degeneration. Also, you may consider increasing your intake of whole grains and cereals. Sugars and refined white flours commonly found in breads and cereal may increase your risk of age-related eye diseases.

The Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) found that taking high levels of antioxidants and zinc can reduce the risk of developing advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD) by about 25 percent. This study followed about 3,600 participants with varying stages of AMD. The results showed that these minerals, while not a cure for AMD, may play a key role in helping people at high risk for developing advanced AMD keep their remaining vision.

Be sure to discuss any vision supplements you may want to take with your eye doctor. In certain cases, taking too much of these supplements can cause problems, especially when mixed with other prescription medicines. Book your appointment with one of our doctors today!

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