Though some studies suggest taking vitamins or supplements may benefit patients with other various eye disorders, such as retinal damage, dry eyes, and cataracts, the evidence for these claims is insufficient. Taking a high concentration of vitamins may slow down the process of a particular disease but may not be able to prevent it, especially if it is age-related.
Most eye experts advise that it is best to get your vitamins from your diet. Supplements are prescribed only when there is a known dietary deficiency or high risk of developing any eye disease.
7 supplements that protect and improve eye health
Vitamins, minerals, and other supplements that protect eye health include:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin A is essential for eyesight because it keeps the cornea or the transparent outer layer of the eye healthy and prevents dry eyes.
- Vitamin A is the main component in the light-sensitive cells (rods) in the retina that helps see in dim light.
- Studies suggest that a high-dose vitamin A diet may decrease the incidence of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in certain people.
- Orange-yellow fruits such as squash, bell peppers, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, green vegetables, and peaches are good sources of vitamin A.
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin C is an antioxidant that prevents cellular damage in the eye.
- Studies suggested that vitamin C lowers the risk of developing cataracts. It may also slow down the process of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), and vision loss when taken with other nutrients.
- Vitamin C is present abundantly in oranges, kiwis, strawberries, grapefruit, strawberries, papaya, green peppers, and tomatoes.
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin E is an antioxidant that protects the eye cells from free radicals, which are unstable chemicals that damage cells.
- Vegetable oils (particularly safflower and maize oil), almonds, wheat germ, and sweet potatoes are good sources of vitamin E.
- Lutein and zeaxanthin
- Lutein and zeaxanthin are carotenoids with anti-inflammatory properties, which are present in the macula and retina of the eye.
- Studies suggest that these carotenoids reduce the risk of chronic eye diseases.
- This helps protect the eye from sunlight, prevent light-induced damage to the eye, and lower the risk of developing cataracts.
- These are found abundantly in dark green vegetables, orange and yellow fruits, broccoli, corn, peas, spinach, kale, pepper, zucchini, squash, maize, peas, persimmons, tangerines, kiwi fruit, grapes, and egg yolk.
- Omega-3 fatty acid
- Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for the development of good vision and retinal function.
- Studies suggest that dietary omega-3 fatty acids help develop normal vision, reduce inflammation, and heal and regenerate retinal cells that were damaged from light exposure and aging.
- Some studies state that these increase tear production and nourish the oily outer layer of the eye, as well as protect the eyes from AMD and glaucoma.
- Salmon, tuna, other cold-water fish, walnuts, and all green leafy vegetables are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
Are there any adverse effects to taking eye supplements?
Yes. Vitamins A and E are fat-soluble vitamins. If these are ingested in excess, it may result in hypervitaminosis, which may damage the liver and cause other issues, such as headaches and skin problems. Additionally, zinc supplements may have toxic long-term effects. Therefore, a person must inform their doctor about the supplements they take.
Any vitamin or supplement may potentially interact with current medications and result in unfavorable side effects. Omega-3 fatty acids may interact with the blood thinners. Many of these supplements are downright dangerous if taken during pregnancy. It is recommended to consult a doctor before starting any supplements and check for any interactions with current ongoing medications.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Bacher R. Can Dietary Supplements Protect Your Eyes? AARP. https://www.aarp.org/health/conditions-treatments/info-2020/dietary-supplements-eye-health.html
Buscemi S, Corleo D, Di Pace F, Petroni ML, Satriano A, Marchesini G. The Effect of Lutein on Eye and Extra-Eye Health. Nutrients. 2018;10(9):1321. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6164534/
Top Do Eye Vitamins Really Help Related Articles
Can High Blood Pressure Hurt My Eyes?Unfortunately, yes. Suffering from untreated or poorly controlled high blood pressure for a long time can be detrimental to your eyes. Several eye diseases are directly or indirectly caused by high blood pressure (hypertension).
Eye Problems and DiabetesDiabetes and eye problems are generally caused by high blood sugar levels over an extended period of time. Types of eye problems in a person with diabetes include glaucoma, cataracts, and retinopathy. Examples of symptoms include blurred vision, headaches, eye aches, pain, halos around lights, loss of vision, watering eyes. Treatment for eye problems in people with diabetes depend on the type of eye problem. Prevention of eye problems include reducing blood pressure, cholesterol levels, quitting smoking, and maintaining proper blood glucose levels.
Dry Eye QuizWhat causes dry eye? Take this quiz to learn about dry eye syndrome and what can be done about it.
Dry EyesDry eyes are caused by an imbalance in the tear-flow system of the eye, but also can be caused by the drying out of the tear film. This can be due to dry air created by air conditioning, heat, or other environmental conditions. Treatment may involve self-care measures, medications, or rarely, surgery.
What Are the Types of Eye Care?Many common eye disorders resolve without treatment and some may be managed with over-the-counter (OTC) products. It's important to visit a physician or ophthalmologist is the problem involves the eyeball itself or the condition hasn't improved after 72 hours of use of an OTC eye care product.
Common Eye ProblemsEye diseases can cause damage and blindness if not treated soon enough. Learn the warning signs and symptoms of common eye conditions such as glaucoma, cataracts, pink eye, macular degeneration and more.
Eye Symptom MeaningsWill your eye condition clear up, or is it a warning sign of a critical eye health issue? Learn about common eye symptoms, what they could mean, what you can do about them, and when to see your eye doctor.
Eye Conditions QuizWhat do you know about your eyes? Take this quick quiz to learn about a range of eye diseases and conditions.
How Do You Treat Dry Eyes?Treatment for dry eye syndrome can include a range of home remedies and over-the-counter eye drops. For more severe cases, oral medication or surgery may be required.
Omega-3 Fatty AcidsOmega-3 fatty acids are essential fats that help decrease one's cholesterol and triglyceride levels as well as reduce the risk of coronary artery disease. Omega-3s are found in salmon, sardines, walnuts, and canola oil. These fats may help reduce the risk of ventricular fibrillation and sudden cardiac death.
Omega-3 Fatty AcidsWhat does research say are the best omega 3 supplements? What are the benefits of omega 3 fatty acids? Learn how Omega 3 rich foods like fish oil, salmon, walnuts, & more can boost brain power, save you from joint pain, ease depression and create a healthier you.
Vitamin E: What You Need to KnowFind out why you need vitamin E, where you get it, and what it does for your body.
Is It Better to Take Vitamins in the Morning or Night?Doctors recommend multivitamins for certain vitamin deficiencies. If you're taking a vitamin supplement for any type of vitamin deficiency, you should try to take it at a time when your body can best absorb it.
What Causes Yellow Discharge From Eyes?What is yellow discharge from your eye? Learn what causes it, how to recognize it, and how it is treated.
What Is the Most Effective Vitamin C Serum?Vitamin C serums are skincare products that contain L-ascorbic acid, ascorbyl-6-palmitate, or magnesium ascorbyl phosphate. Effective vitamin C products contain between an eight and 20 percent concentration of vitamin C. They may also contain tyrosine, zinc, and vitamin E and be in an opaque bottle.
Why Is Blue Light Bad for the Eyes?Blue light is part of the visible light spectrum with the shortest wavelength and highest energy. It can pass straight to the retina of the eyes through the passage to the cornea and lens.