Look to Fruits and Vegetables for Good Eye Health

Eating more fruits and vegetables can help protect against eye disease and help your overall health. * Research supports this.1-10 To keep your eyes healthy, you should eat foods rich in certain vitamins and minerals. These vitamins and minerals are called antioxidants. Antioxidants help keep our cells and tissues healthy. The following foods may help stop or slow certain eye diseases.

Foods Rich in Antioxidants for Eye Health Antioxidants Related to Eye Health
Eggs, kale, spinach, turnip greens, collard greens,
romaine lettuce, broccoli, zucchini, corn, garden
peas and Brussels sprouts.
Lutein & Zeaxanthin
Red berries, kiwi, red and green bell peppers,
tomatoes, broccoli, spinach, and juices made from
guava, grapefruit, and orange.
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)
Vegetable oils, nuts, green leafy vegetables,
sweet potatoes, avocados, wheat germ,
and whole grains.
Vitamin E
Carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, eggs,
and green leafy vegetables.
Vitamin A & Beta Carotene
Salmon, sardines, flax seeds, soybeans,
and walnuts.
Essential Fatty Acids
Red meat, poultry, oysters and other seafood,
nuts, dried beans, soy foods, milk and other
dairy products, whole grains, and
fortified breakfast cereals.

Visit an eye care professional for regular eye exams. This will help you learn about and get treated for vision problems as early as possible.

*WARNING: Talk with your health care provider before changing your diet or taking vitamin supplements. Some people have health conditions or take medicines that could be affected by a change in diet or vitamin supplements.

Prepared by the Vision Health Integration and Preservation Program, a collaboration of Healthy Eyes Alliance (formerly Prevent Blindness Tri-State) and the New York State Department of Health.

Research References

  1. (2001). "A randomized, placebo-controlled, clinical trial of high-dose supplementation with vitamins C and E, beta carotene, and zinc for age-related macular degeneration and vision loss: AREDS report no. 8" Arch Ophthalmol 119(10): 1417-36.
  2. Richer, S., W. Stiles, et al (2004)."Double-masked, placebo-controlled, randomized trial of lutein and antioxidant supplementation in the intervention of atrophobic age-relatedmacular degeneration: the Veterans LAST study (Lutein Antioxidant Supplementation Trial)." Optometry 75(4): 216-30.
  3. Stringham, J. M.and B. Hammond (2008). "Macular Pigment and Visual Performance Under Glare Conditions." Optometry & Vision Science 85(2): 82-88.
  4. Cho E. et al. (2001). "Prospective study of dietary fat and the risk of age-related macular degeneration." Am. J. Clin.Nutr. 73: 209-218.
  5. ConnorW. E., et al. (1992). "Essential fatty acids: the importance of n-3 fatty acids in the retina and brain."Nutr Rev 50(4): 21-29.
  6. Grahn, B. H., P. G.Paterson, et al. (2001). "Zinc and the eye." Journal of the American College of Nutrition 20(2 Suppl): 106-118.
  7. Meyer, B. J. et al. (2003). "Dietary intakes and food sources of omega-6 and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids." Lipids 38(4): 391-8.
  8. Christen, W. G., S. Lieu et al. (2008)"Dietary carotenoids, vitamins C and E, and risk of cataract in women: a prospective study." Archives of Ophthalmology 126(1): 102-9.
  9. Seddon,J. M., et al. (1994). "Dietary carotenoids, vitamins A, C, and E, and advanced age-related macular degeneration. Eye Disease Case-Control StudyGroup." Jama 272(18): 1413-20.
  10. Age-Related Disease Study Research Group (2007). "The Relationship of Dietary Carotenoid and Vitamin A, E and C Intake with Age-Related Macular Degeneration in a Case- Control Study. AREDS Report No. 22." Arch Ophthalmol 125(9):1225-1232.