Nutrition For Healthy Eyes



Research suggests that antioxidants and other important nutrients may reduce your risk of cataracts and macular degeneration. Specific antioxidants can have additional benefits as well; for example, vitamin A protects against blindness, and vitamin C may play a role in preventing or alleviating glaucoma.

Omega-3 essential fatty acids appear to help the eye in a variety of ways, from alleviating symptoms of dry eye syndrome to guarding against macular damage.

Eye Benefits Of Vitamins And Micro-nutrients

The following vitamins, minerals and other nutrients have been shown to be essential for good vision and may protect your eyes from sight-robbing conditions and diseases.

1. Beta-carotene

  • Eye benefits of beta-carotene: When taken in combination with zinc and vitamins C and E, beta-carotene may reduce the progression of macular degeneration.

  • Food sources: Carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale, butternut squash.

2. Bioflavonoids (Flavonoids)

  • Eye benefits of bioflavonoids: May protect against cataracts and macular degeneration.

  • Food sources: Tea, red wine, citrus fruits, bilberries, blueberries, cherries, legumes, soy products.

3. Lutein and Zeaxanthin

  • Eye benefits of lutein and zeaxanthin: May prevent cataracts and macular degeneration.

  • Food sources: Spinach, kale, turnip greens, collard greens, squash.

4. Omega-3 Fatty Acids

  • Eye benefits of omega-3 fatty acids: May help prevent macular degeneration (AMD) and dry eyes.

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

5. Selenium

  • Eye benefits of selenium: When combined with carotenoids and vitamins C and E, may reduce risk of advanced AMD.

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

6. Vitamin A

  • Eye benefits of vitamin A: May protect against night blindness and dry eyes.

  • Food sources: Beef or chicken liver; eggs, butter, milk.

7. Vitamin C

  • Eye benefits of vitamin C: May reduce the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration.

  • Food sources: Sweet peppers (red or green), kale, strawberries, broccoli, oranges, cantaloupe.

8. Vitamin D

  • Eye benefits of vitamin D: May reduce the risk of macular degeneration.

  • Food sources: Salmon, sardines, mackerel, milk; orange juice fortified with vitamin D.

  • The best source of vitamin D is exposure to sunlight. Ultraviolet radiation from the sun stimulates production of vitamin D in human skin, and just a few minutes of exposure to sunlight each day (without sunscreen) will insure your body is producing adequate amounts of vitamin D.

9. Vitamin E

  • Eye benefits of vitamin E: When combined with carotenoids and vitamin C, may reduce the risk of advanced AMD.

  • Food sources: Almonds, sunflower seeds, hazelnuts.

10. Zinc

  • Eye benefits of zinc: Helps vitamin A reduce the risk of night blindness; may play a role in reducing risk of advanced AMD.

  • Food sources: Oysters, beef, Dungeness crab, turkey (dark meat).

In general, it's best to obtain most nutrients through a healthy diet, including at least two servings of fish per week and plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables.

If you plan to begin a regimen of eye vitamins, be sure to discuss this with your optometrist or ophthalmologist. Taking too much of certain vision supplements can cause problems, especially if you are taking prescription medications for health problems.

This post originally appeared on All About Vision.