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Nutrition for Good Eye Health

Updated on October 22, 2012

Science Links Nutrition and Eye Health

It should come as little surprise that good overall nutrition, which is essential for optimal health, is also needed for the best health of your eyes. This means that fad diets that concentrate on only certain types of foods may not only affect your general physical health but may also contribute to vision problems.

As recently as 20 years ago, medical science had little in the way of research to confirm the importance nutrition to the prevention and maintenance of conditions that affect the eye such as cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration. Fortunately, between government and academic research bodies, there is now scientifically-based information for optimal eye health.

Eating a nutritious, balanced diet is the beginning of your best health. Information at MyPyramid.gov provides basic information on what your daily diet should include. A visit to the site also allows you to put in your information to receive individualized recommendations for your age, weight, etc.

Eye Specific Nutrition

Whoever told you to eat your fruits and vegetables was...absolutely right--and seafood and nuts and brown rice and seeds...the list goes on.

Vitamin A: The current thinking is that this fat-soluble vitamin may prevent night blindness and dry eye. Recommended daily allowance (RDA): 2,133 IU for women/3,000 IU for men. Found in: Eggs, milk, butter, beef or chicken liver, cod liver oil, sweet potato, winter squash.

Vitamin C: May reduce risk of cataracts and macular degeneration. RDA: 70 mg for women/90 mg for men. Found in: Citrus fruit, cantaloupe, strawberries, kale, sweet peppers, papaya, Brussel sprouts, broccoli.

Vitamin D: The "sunlight" vitamin may protect against macular degeneration. Found in: Milk, tuna, egg, salmon, sardines, juice fortified with vitamin D--and in a few minutes of skin exposure to sunlight daily, your body will produce its own vitamin D.

Vitamin E: Another fat-soluble vitamin, this one is thought to reduce the risk of advanced age-related macular degeneration, in combination with carotenoids and vitamin C. RDA: 15 mg for women and men. Found in: Sunflower seeds, almonds, papaya, olives, greens (spinach, mustard, collard, turnip), blueberries.

Saffron: Early scientific research suggests the benefit of the powerful antioxidant properties of saffron supplementation both in the slowing of progression of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and improving vision in those already diagnosed with the disease. Clinical trials are currently underway in Italy to better determine the benefits of saffron supplements 20 mg daily for eye health.

Other important nutrients for best eye health:

Beta-carotene: May protect against night blindness and dry eye. Found in: Sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach, butternut squash, turnip and collard greens, kale.

Flavonoids: These phytonutrients are thought to protect against cataracts and macular degeneration. Found in: Apples, apricots, tea, red wine, blueberries, black beans, cabbage, legumes, soy products.

Lutein and zeaxanthin: A pair of nutrients also thought to protect against cataracts and macular degeneration. Found in: Eggs, kale, spinach, turnip and collard greens, Brussel sprouts, romaine lettuce, zucchini



This information is not intended to replace or refute any medical advice or recommendations by your health care provider, nor to be used in place of seeking professional medical care.

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    • L.L. Woodard profile imageAUTHOR

      L.L. Woodard 

      6 years ago from Oklahoma City

      Hyphenbird2, thanks for the read and the comments. As far as vitamins go, many drug stores and big box stores carry multi-vitamins that are specially formulated for eye health. You may want to talk to your pharmacist or health care provider to determine what would be best for your individual situation.

    • Hyphenbird profile image

      Brenda Barnes 

      6 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

      Thanks for the great tips. I assist a friend who is 89 with macular degeneration. Her condition has made me more aware of eye health. I do eat lots of fruits and vegetables so I knew that was good. Now I am going to purchase the right vitamins also.

    • L.L. Woodard profile imageAUTHOR

      L.L. Woodard 

      6 years ago from Oklahoma City

      Wwolfs, as you said, keeping our eyes healthy and maintaining good eyesight is more important than ever.

      I appreciate your read and vote. Thanks for SHARING.

    • profile image

      wwolfs 

      6 years ago

      Great hub with good information. They eyes are very important to take care of. Especially today with use of the computer and many of the other gadgets the younger generation is using. Thanks for sharing!

      Voted up and useful!

    • L.L. Woodard profile imageAUTHOR

      L.L. Woodard 

      6 years ago from Oklahoma City

      Debbie Roberts, I've also noticed changes in the eye sight over recent years. I've had an eye doctor explain that the frequent need for reading glasses many people have as they age is due to weakening of certain eye muscles.

      I think that by making healthy food choices as often as possible, we can keep our entire body in its best health.

      Thank you for the read, comment and vote.

    • L.L. Woodard profile imageAUTHOR

      L.L. Woodard 

      6 years ago from Oklahoma City

      Brett.Tesol, I agree with your assessment that because research of natural remedies lacks a profit motive, there is much information that will likely not be scientifically proven. It is a sad fact. Research isn't inexpensive and few funding sources exist that aren't looking to make a buck.

      Thanks for SHARING.

    • debbie roberts profile image

      Debbie Roberts 

      6 years ago from Greece

      I've noticed that as I've gotten older that my eye sight isn't what it was. I'm sure it's something that many of us notice. You have made some good food suggestions for helping to maintain good eye health.

      A good hub and voted up.

    • Brett.Tesol profile image

      Brett Caulton 

      6 years ago from Asia

      Good information. A balanced diet can prevent and even cure many conditions. The reason such research is lacking is that it isn't profitable, unlike the many 'pill cures' or surgical techniques.

      Thanks for SHARING.

    • L.L. Woodard profile imageAUTHOR

      L.L. Woodard 

      6 years ago from Oklahoma City

      Gypsy Willow, I would imagine that linseed provides important antioxidants for both eye health and the health of the entire body.

      Thank you for reading and commenting.

    • Gypsy Willow profile image

      Gypsy Willow 

      6 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      More useful tips. In England, Lindeed is especially recommended for eye health.

    • L.L. Woodard profile imageAUTHOR

      L.L. Woodard 

      6 years ago from Oklahoma City

      Raw vegetables have the most nutrition. Glad you found this info useful.

      Thanks for the read and the comment.

    • L.L. Woodard profile imageAUTHOR

      L.L. Woodard 

      6 years ago from Oklahoma City

      SanneL, I'm glad you found the information in this hub useful.

      Thanks for SHARING.

    • rasta1 profile image

      Marvin Parke 

      6 years ago from Jamaica

      Raw carrot is a favorite of mine, thanks for the info

    • SanneL profile image

      SanneL 

      6 years ago from Sweden

      Stacking up on good nutrition is definitely a must for happy eyes. Great hub with some useful information about what helps prevent eye problems.

      Up, useful and sharing.

      Thanks!

    • L.L. Woodard profile imageAUTHOR

      L.L. Woodard 

      7 years ago from Oklahoma City

      Hi Glenn, so glad you found the information on eye health useful.

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 

      7 years ago from Long Island, NY

      You have a lot of useful information here about what helps prevent eye problems. I'm book marking this hub so I can review it to remember the important vitamins for healthy eyes. I voted up.

    • L.L. Woodard profile imageAUTHOR

      L.L. Woodard 

      7 years ago from Oklahoma City

      CMHypno, thanks for dropping by and for the information about saffron. I'm going to check into that further.

    • CMHypno profile image

      CMHypno 

      7 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

      Hi L.L Woodard, great hub on good nutrition for eyes. We are so dependant on our sight, but most of us really do not take enough care of our eyes- especially all this peering at computer screens LOL! Saffron has also been proved to be great for helping with age-related AMD.

    • L.L. Woodard profile imageAUTHOR

      L.L. Woodard 

      7 years ago from Oklahoma City

      Thanks, Norma. Prevention is the key for good health, no matter what part of the body we are talking about.

    • Norma Budden profile image

      Norma Budden 

      7 years ago from Nunavut, Canada

      With many people using the computer and other electronic gadgets for such lengthy durations of time, they would be wise to pay extra attention to the health of their eyes. For the most part, I believe I am getting these particular vitamins in my daily diet; as for quantities, that may be another matter entirely. It's something I'll have to look into, more for preventative measures than anything else, at this point.

      Very informative.

    • L.L. Woodard profile imageAUTHOR

      L.L. Woodard 

      7 years ago from Oklahoma City

      Fay, I know my Mom's eye doctor recommended multi-vitamins specifically for eye health. Maybe your health care provider can steer you in the right direction. And I read the other day where omega-3s may protect against macular degeneration, but you might want to look up that info and determine for yourself if you would benefit. Best of luck to you.

    • profile image

      Fay Paxton 

      7 years ago

      Going to stock up on my vitamins at first light. My vision is going to hell. Thanks.

      up/useful

    • L.L. Woodard profile imageAUTHOR

      L.L. Woodard 

      7 years ago from Oklahoma City

      Thanks for stopping by, Dr irum. I appreciate your comments.

    • Dr irum profile image

      Dr irum 

      7 years ago

      Hello , Thats very nice and informative hub .

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