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6 Nutrients That Support Optimal Eye Health (and Where to Find Them)

Oct 01, 2023
6 Nutrients That Support Optimal Eye Health (and Where to Find Them)
“You are what you eat” might be a little extreme, but what you put on your plate does have an effect on your eyes. Here are six nutrients that promote better ocular health — and which foods that contain them.

You know what you eat makes a difference in how you feel and how your body functions. You might not get too granular with it, but it’s pretty interesting to drill down and see how specific nutrients affect specific parts of your body.

As optometrists, we’re naturally interested in the eyes. When we zoom in and look at how what you eat impacts your ocular health, there’s a clear pattern. Certain nutrients make a big difference for your eyes. 

Our team of eye health specialists put together this guide to give you an overview, but we don’t stop there. We also specifically offer nutritional counseling here at Edwin Y. Endo, OD & Associates in Aiea, Hawaii. If you want personalized guidance on what to eat to help your eyes, we’re here. 

For now, though, let’s look at some of the nutrients that your eyes need. 

#1: Vitamin A

Not getting enough vitamin A dries out your cornea and can eventually lead to blindness

You can fight vitamin A deficiency with:

  • Dairy
  • Eggs
  • Carrots
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Tomatoes 
  • Leafy greens
  • Fish oil

The next nutrient we’re talking about relates to vitamin A, so make sure you’re getting plenty of it, too. 

#2: Zinc

Zinc helps your body bring vitamin A to your retina where it supports your eyes in functioning their best. Good sources of zinc include oysters, red meat, nuts and peanuts, legumes, dairy, and seeds.

#3: Lutein and zeaxanthin

Your eyes need two antioxidants — lutein and zeaxanthin — to fight against eye conditions like cataracts. Egg yolks and dark green, orange, and yellow produce are good sources of zeaxanthin and lutein. Think leafy greens, broccoli, red peppers, peas, and corn. 

#4: Vitamin C

Vitamin C also helps your eyes defend against cataracts, plus other conditions like age-related macular degeneration. In addition to citrus fruits, you can get vitamin C from strawberries, kiwifruit, bell peppers, and guavas. 

#5: Vitamin E

Free radicals — essentially, unstable molecules — can harm your eyes, but vitamin E provides a layer of protection here. Vegetable oils, sweet potatoes, and nuts are all good sources of this key nutrient for eye health. 

#6: Omega-3 fats

These fats play a big role in helping your eyes develop. Getting enough of them helps your eyes stay healthy, too, by boosting tear production — which helps to prevent dry eye — and fighting inflammation. Cold-water fish like salmon and tuna contain this essential fat. 

Clearly, what you eat can play a big role in how your eyes function now and as you age. To learn more about the nutrition your eyes need, call our office or book your visit online today.