eye health
A well-balanced diet can provide you with all the eye-healthy nutrients you need.

The health of your eye is directly associated with the health of the heart and blood vessels. Food can play a critical role in promoting eye and heart health.

Certain nutrients present in food are essential for your overall eye health. Your eyes need all these nutrients to help prevent the following eye conditions:

12 foods good for eye health

The top 12 foods that are essential for eye health include:

  1. Red peppers
  2. Sweet potatoes
  3. Sunflower seeds and nuts
  4. Dark, leafy greens
  5. Salmon or other 
  6. Lean meat and poultry
  7. Beans and legumes
  8. Eggs
  9. Squash
  10. Broccoli and brussels sprouts
  11. Oysters
  12. Almonds

Best foods for eye health chart

Some important nutrients, their functions in the eyes, and the richest food sources are mentioned below:

Table. Nutrients for eye health
Nutrients Functions Food
  • Lutein
  • Zeaxanthin
  • Protect the retina
  • Slow age-related macular degeneration
  • Prevent free radicals from damaging the eye cells
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Collard greens
  • Corn
  • Eggs
  • Kale
  • Nectarines
  • Oranges
  • Papayas
  • Romaine
  • Lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Squash
Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Increase tear production
  • Beneficial for overall eye health
  • Flaxseed
  • Flaxseed oil
  • Halibut
  • Salmon
  • Sardines
  • Tuna
  • Walnuts
Vitamin A
  • Prevents dry eyes and night blindness
  • Enables light to be converted into electrical signals that get interpreted as vision
  • Apricots
  • Cantaloupe (raw)
  • Carrots
  • Mangoes
  • Red peppers (raw)
  • Ricotta cheese (part-skim)
  • Spinach
  • Sweet potatoes
Vitamin C
  • Slows cataract formation
  • Protection from eye damage caused by free radicals
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Grapefruit
  • Kiwi
  • Oranges
  • Red peppers (raw)
  • Strawberries
Vitamin E
  • Protects eye cells
  • Prevents eye damage by obstructing the action of free radicals
  • Almonds
  • Broccoli
  • Peanut butter
  • Spinach
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Wheat germ
Zinc
  • Activation of some enzymes in the eyes
  • Maintains structure and stability of proteins in the retina
  • Prevents and slows vision loss
  • Chickpeas
  • Oysters
  • Pork chops
  • Red meat
  • Yogurt

SLIDESHOW

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5 worst foods for eye health

Because certain foods promote eye health, others can harm the eyes. Any foods that are harmful to your heart can prove deleterious to your eye health. Therefore, junk foods are a big “no” when considering your eye health.

Some worst foods for eye health include:

  1. Bread and pasta: Simple carbohydrates found in bread and pasta digest quickly leading to an increase in blood sugar levels. Higher blood sugar levels can increase the risk of age-related vision loss in elderly people.
  2. Processed meats: Processed meats such as hot dogs, bacon, and deli meats are loaded with sodium. High blood pressure is the outcome of a salt spike. Salt spikes can result in the following eye conditions:
    • Hypertensive retinopathy (blood vessel damage leading to blurred vision or vision loss)
    • Choroidopathy (buildup of fluid below the retina)
    • Neuropathy (blockage of blood flow that kills nerves and leads to vision loss)
  3. Fried foods: Deep-fried foods can increase bad cholesterol levels, leading to heart disease, stroke, and type II diabetes. These can build up free radicals in the eye and can damage eye cells.
  4. Sugary drinks: Sugary drinks can cause sugar spikes, leading to various conditions such as:
  5. Shellfish: High mercury levels in shellfish can be problematic for a certain population and can cause eye damage. These populations include:

Can supplements promote eye health?

A well-balanced diet can provide you with all the eye-healthy nutrients you need. Typically, most Americans get essential eye-healthy nutrients through their diet without taking supplements.

Your ophthalmologist may recommend supplements only if you have age-related vision loss.

It’s never too late to start eating healthy before being diagnosed with a serious health problem.

5 ways to promote eye health

Some other ways to promote eye health include:

  1. Wear sunglasses to prevent the damage caused by UV rays.
  2. Use protective eyewear or safety goggles if your job involves hazardous acts causing eye injury. For example, people playing the following sports must wear protective glasses:
    • Ice hockey
    • Racquetball
    • Lacrosse
  3. Look away from the computer screen after using it every 20 minutes. Some of the complications of too much screen time include:
  4. Quit smoking because smoking can cause the following conditions:
  5. Go for a regular eye examination because it is essential to identify any eye abnormalities and provide maximum protection to your eyesight. A comprehensive eye examination might involve:
    • Enlisting your personal and family medical history.
    • Vision tests to identify any eye abnormalities.
    • Test eye functioning.
    • Checking eye pressure to identify glaucoma.
    • Examination of your eye before and after dilation.

QUESTION

What causes dry eyes? See Answer

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Medically Reviewed on 6/10/2022
References
Image Source: iStock image

https://www.webmd.com/eye-health/ss/slideshow-worst-foods-eyes

https://www.webmd.com/eye-health/good-eyesight

https://www.aao.org/eye-health/tips-prevention/fabulous-foods-your-eyes

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/top-foods-to-help-protect-your-vision

https://www.eatright.org/health/wellness/preventing-illness/5-top-foods-for-eye-health