Maintaining Eye Health and Good Eyesight with Diet and Supplements 

Failing eyesight doesn’t have to be an inevitable and acceptable reality of aging. Dry eyes, night blindness, cataracts, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, or glaucoma do not have to be your destiny. The truth is that your diet and lifestyle significantly affect your eye health.

There are things you can do to decrease your risk of eye health aging and lifestyle-related decline, including increasing intake or supplementing with the following nutrients:  


Zinc is crucial in maintaining the health of your eye retina and plays a role in the structure of cell membranes. A zinc deficiency can put your eye health at risk by impairing eye function and making it more susceptible to oxidative damage. Zinc is also responsible for cell signaling, influencing the transmission of impulses in the eye nerves. [1] 

You can increase your zinc levels with whole grains, legumes (chickpeas and baked beans), nuts, and seeds. Zinc also comes in supplement form. 20 mg is sufficient; however, one should be wary of supplementation with too much zinc since excessive zinc can cause kidney and stomach damage. 

I also recommend supplementing simultaneously with copper since it often works together with zinc, and when regularly supplementing with zinc, you may cause a copper deficiency. Spirulina is rich in copper. Therefore I recommend taking spirulina supplements several times a week to ensure all of your copper needs are met while supplementing with zinc (sulfate or picolinate).

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is considered one of the essential vitamins for eye health. The deficiency of this nutrient is one of the most common causes of blindness worldwide. [2]

Vitamin A supports the cornea’s function, which helps maintain vision functions. Signs that you may have a vitamin A deficiency include dry eyes and night blindness, especially noticeable while driving at night. A lack of vitamin A could lead to complete blindness in extreme cases. 

Although vitamin A comes from animal products, the body can make vitamin A from provitamin A carotenoids, such as beta-carotene. Beta-Carotene is found in high amounts in some fruits and vegetables. This is the body’s natural way to ensure that there is not too much nor too little vitamin A. Excess vitamin A causes elevated pressure inside the skull, which may lead to mental disturbances, seizures, headaches, blurry vision, muscle and bone pain, hair loss, appetite loss, and hyperlipidemia.

The best way to ensure sufficient vitamin A is by regularly consuming fruits and vegetables high in beta-carotene. These fruits and vegetables are distinct because of their intense yellow, orange, and green colors. Generally, the intensity of the color is an indicator of its beta-carotene levels. Foods highest in beta-carotene include carrots, red bell peppers, sweet potatoes, and broccoli. 

However, some people do not efficiently convert beta-carotene to vitamin A. [3]

If vegans do not consume enough of these foods, they may lack vitamin A, suffer deficiency symptoms such as acne, dry eyes, night blindness, and have poorer eyesight. This urges the need for vitamin A supplementation. See your doctor to determine whether you may be suffering from vitamin A deficiency.  

Lutein and Zeaxanthin

Lutein and zeaxanthin are also carotenoids with powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that play a crucial role in eye health. According to a study led by a team from the Dipartimento Biomedico di Medicina Interna e Specialistica (DIBIMIS) in Italy, lutein helps improve and prevent age-related blindness and vision impairment. [4-5] Lutein and zeaxanthin also help reduce inflammation in the eye and promote vision sharpness. They protect the eyes from excess sunlight. [6]

Malnutrition can lead to lutein and zeaxanthin deficiency, while excessive alcohol and tobacco consumption may interfere with their absorption. Lutein and zeaxanthin are usually encountered jointly in green leafy vegetables such as kale, collards, arugula, spinach, Swiss chard, winter squash, yellow sweet corn pistachios, peas, and red grapes.

These carotenoids also support kidney function. 

If you do not get adequate quantities of these carotenoids through your food, you may supplement with 2 mg of zeaxanthin and 10 mg of lutein four times a week with food. 

Vitamin C

This essential antioxidant vitamin is crucial for eye health; the human body cannot produce it. It must be consumed through the diet. Vitamin C is also not stored in the body, and any excess is excreted through the urine. Vitamin C is abundant in the fluid of the outer part of the eye (the aqueous humor); however, the concentration is naturally dependent on dietary intake. [7]

Foods high in vitamin C include kiwi, guava, citrus fruits, berries, melon, bell peppers, kale, sweet potatoes, potatoes, broccoli, and tomatoes [8].

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is another essential vitamin that the body cannot produce and must receive from the diet. Vitamin E has antioxidant properties, and its deficiency can lead to retinal damage and photoreceptor loss. Thus, vitamin E is crucial in preventing macular degeneration and other eye-related diseases. [9] Increasing vitamin E in your diet has also been associated with a reduced risk of cataracts due to the reduction in oxidative damage. [10]

While increasing your vitamin E intake can be done with supplements, this is not my recommendation. There is a wide variety of healthy foods rich in vitamin E. Sources high in vitamin E include sunflower seeds, leafy green vegetables, broccoli, red pepper, almonds, pumpkin, peanuts, and whole-grain wheat products. Wheat germ is very high in vitamin E. Wheat germ forms part of a wheat kernel responsible for helping the plant reproduce. Processing wheat removes the germ layer, sadly removing the most nutritional component of the grain. Consume foods rich in vitamin E regularly to prevent deficiency.

For dry eye syndrome, omega-3 fatty acids are also helpful. [11]

To conclude

Caring for your eyes through a proper diet and supplementation when needed will allow you a lifetime of good eyesight, improving the quality of your life and overall well-being.

All references are found at this link: I keep this list updated. 

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