Supplementing Your Vision: Key Nutrients + Vitamins For Healthy Eyes

Feb 19, 2024
 – Besser Eye Care Team
  • Eye Health

Seven nutrients and vitamins for eyes that can lead to a happy, healthier lifestyle.

General health and eye health go hand in hand. While it is true that genetic factors affect vision and the development of certain ocular conditions, lifestyle choices also play a role in a patient's eye health.

One of the simplest ways patients can maintain eye health is through consuming specific vitamins for eyes. A variety of vitamins and nutrients play a role in maintaining a patient’s eye and overall health. A few simple changes in diet and lifestyle can often be enough to enjoy better health and vision.

Vitamins for eye health

Many vitamins and nutrients are linked to improved eye health. Patients should make an effort to include these vitamins for eyes in their diet, or through supplementation, to promote better vision and prevent harmful eye conditions such as macular degeneration, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma.

Vitamin A

This is one of the best known vitamins for eye health. Vitamin A plays a vital role in protecting the cornea, the protective outer layer of the eye. High levels of vitamin A can keep the cornea clear, allowing patients to enjoy better vision.

Vitamin A deficiency is also heavily linked to night blindness. The vitamin activates rhodopsin, a protein in patients’ eyes that allows them to see in low-light conditions. A severe deficiency in vitamin A can lead to a progressive eye disease called xerophthalmia, and if left untreated may result in blindness.

There are a variety of food sources that can provide patients with the necessary vitamin A to preserve their sight. Animal products such as meat, fish, dairy, and eggs are all good sources of vitamin A.

Patients can also get vitamin A from fruits and vegetables. Foods like sweet potatoes, squash, kale, and cantaloupe provide rich sources of vitamin A.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is another powerful vitamin for eyes. It plays a crucial role in protecting important fatty acids in the eye and throughout the body from free radicals (molecules that break down healthy tissue).

The retina of the eye has particularly high levels of fatty acids, making vitamin E essential for retinal and eye health.

Vitamin E deficiency is also linked to a number of ocular conditions. These include retinal degeneration, blindness, and cataracts.

There are a variety of healthy food sources from which patients can get vitamin E. Legumes such as almonds and sunflower seeds are high in vitamin E. Patients can also get vitamin E from oils like vegetable oil and flaxseed oil.

Vitamin C

Like vitamin E, vitamin C is a potent vitamin for eye health that combats free radicals and protects the eyes and other organs.

Vitamin C is an especially important vitamin for eyes because there is a higher concentration of it in the eye’s aqueous humor than in other bodily fluids.

Higher vitamin C intake has been linked to a reduced risk of developing cataracts, and has been shown to slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration and vision loss.

Vitamin C is also considered an immune-boosting antioxidant linked to better overall health for the body.

Patients can find rich sources of vitamin C in fruits like oranges, grapefruit, and berries. Brussel sprouts and broccoli also have plentiful amounts of vitamin C.

Lutein + zeaxanthin

These two carotenoid antioxidants are concentrated in the macula of the eye. The macula is a part of a patient’s retina heavily associated with central vision.

Both lutein and zeaxanthin protect the eye from harmful blue light and oxidative damage. Patients can think of these two nutrients as “sunscreen for their eyes.” They protect the eye from harmful UV radiation that has the potential to damage vision.

Higher levels of these antioxidants have also been linked to reduced risk of age related macular degeneration.

Patients can enjoy more lutein and zeaxanthin by consuming green vegetables like spinach, chards, and broccoli. Foods like eggs and sweet corn are also excellent sources of lutein and zeaxanthin.


The eyes have particularly high levels of this important mineral. Zinc plays a number of vital roles in the health of the eyes and the body. It’s linked to preserving the health of the retina, cell membranes, and the protein structure of the eye.

Zinc also plays a crucial part in transporting vitamin A from the liver to the retina. This process produces melanin, a pigment in the eyes that protects against UV light.

Studies have also linked zinc supplementation with slowing the development of macular degeneration. Zinc may also help slow the loss of visual acuity later in a patient’s life.

Patients can get zinc from a variety of different foods and food groups. Seafood like oysters, crab, and lobster are heavy in zinc. Poultry such as turkey and legumes like chickpeas and beans are also high in zinc.

Omega-3 fatty acids

A number of omega-3 fatty acids play a role in supporting eye health, but one of the most important is DHA.

People have high DHA levels in the retina, where the fatty acid is linked to healthy eye function and eye development in infancy. This makes proper consumption of omega-3 fatty acids especially important for children.

This fatty acid may also help prevent a number of eye disorders. Increased DHA levels can increase fluid levels in the eye and reduce symptoms of dry eye. DHA has also been linked to a reduced risk of diabetic retinopathy.

Omega-3 fatty acids are plentiful in fatty fish such as salmon and sardines. Patients can also find them in walnuts and flaxseeds.

Woman taking vitamins for eye health

B Vitamins

A variety of B vitamins have been linked to improved eye health. Vitamins like B6, B9, B12, and riboflavin are all significant vitamins for eye health.

B vitamins may lower levels of homocysteine, a protein in your body that is associated with inflammation and an increased risk of developing age-related macular degeneration. The B vitamin riboflavin may also reduce the risk of cataracts.

Patients can get more of these B vitamins through supplementation as well as vitamin-B-rich foods such as liver, clams, beef, sardines, and fortified cereals.


If you would like to learn more about important vitamins for eyes and eye health, please contact us to book an appointment with Eduardo Besser, MD. Our offices are located in Culver City, Los Angeles County.

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