People often believe that vision failure is the result of aging or inevitable eye strain. In fact, a healthy lifestyle can significantly reduce the risk of eye health problems.
The Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS), published in 2001, found that certain nutrients — zinc, copper, vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta carotene — can reduce the risk of age-related declines in eye health by 25 percent.
This study was updated in 2013 to test different versions of the original formula. Variations include the omega-3 fatty acids, zeaxanthin, lutein, and beta carotene; The study found that certain combinations may work better than others.
Further studies agree that omega-3 fatty acids (including DHA), copper, lutein, and zeaxanthin are essential for eye health.
In this article, we look at evidence for 10 nutrient-rich foods to improve eye health. We also cover other tips for eye health warning signs and healthy eyes.
The ten best foods for eye health
Organizations such as the American Optometric Association (AOA) and the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) continue to recommend nutrition for eye health based on the AREDS report.
The AREDS report supports the following 10 nutrient-rich foods:
close-up of women’s brown eyes
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help lower the risk of eye problems.
Many fish are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
Oily fish are fish that have oil in their intestines and body tissues, so eating them offers higher levels of omega-3 rich fish oil. Fish that contain the most beneficial levels of omega-3s include:
Several studies have found that fish oil can reverse dry eyes, including dry eyes caused by spending too much time on the computer.
2. Nuts and beans
Nuts are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Nuts also contain high levels of vitamin E, which can protect the eyes from age-related damage.
Nuts and nuts that are good for eye health include:
Like nuts and legumes, the seeds are high in omega-3s and rich in vitamin E.
Seeds high in omega-3s include:
4. Citrus fruit
Citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C. Like vitamin E, vitamin C is an antioxidant recommended by the AOA to fight age-related eye damage.
Citrus fruits rich in vitamin C include:
5. Leafy green vegetables
Leafy green vegetables are rich in lutein and zeaxanthin and are also an eye-friendly source of vitamin C.
Famous green vegetables include:
Carrots are rich in vitamin A and beta carotene. Beta carotene gives carrots their orange color.
Vitamin A plays an important role in vision. It is a component of a protein called rhodopsin, which helps the retina absorb light.
Research into beta carotene’s role in vision is mixed, although the body needs this nutrient to make vitamin A.
7. Sweet potato
Like carrots, sweet potatoes are rich in beta carotene. They are also a great source of the antioxidant vitamin E.
Beef is rich in zinc, which has been linked to better long-term eye health. Zinc can help delay age-related vision loss and macular degeneration.
The eye itself contains high levels of zinc, particularly in the retina, and the network of blood vessels that surrounds the retina.
Meats such as chicken breast and pork loin also contain zinc, but to a lesser extent than beef.
Eggs are an excellent source of lutein and zeaxanthin, which can reduce the risk of age-related vision loss. Eggs are also a good source of vitamins C and E, and zinc.
It may come as no surprise that fluids that are essential to life are also vital to eye health.
Drinking plenty of water can prevent dehydration, which can reduce dry eye symptoms.