4 Foods That May Help Lower Your Risk of Cataracts

healthy meal with pumpkin, egg, tomato

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Cataracts are a cloudy space in the lens of your eye. More than half of Americans age 80 or older have developed a cataract. Cataracts can cause blurry vision and can make reading, driving, and participating in other activities challenging.

While some risk factors for cataracts are out of your control (like your family history) there are some dietary and lifestyle changes that you can make to reduce your risk.

June is National Cataract Awareness Month, which makes it a great time to learn more about which nutrients may reduce your risk of developing cataracts when they are included in an overall healthy diet. Here are four eye-health-promoting foods to try.

SunGold Kiwis

Group of one whole one half of fresh golden brown kiwi fruit sungold variety flatlay on brown wood


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Vitamin C is a nutrient that may have a profound role in eye health, particularly when it comes to cataract risk. Research has shown that higher blood levels of vitamin C are linked to reduced odds of developing cataracts, highlighting the nutrient’s protective role on the eye lens.

A 2016 meta-analysis of 30 studies showed that higher vitamin C intake was linked to reduced cataract risk.

Zespri SunGold kiwifruit (the kiwis with the vibrant golden flesh) is one of the most nutritionally dense fruits. Kiwis have more than 20 vitamins and minerals.

Kiwi also has the highest vitamin C content of any commonly eaten fruit. Golden-fleshed kiwis offer more than 100% of your daily need for vitamin C.


a variety of heirloom hen eggs in shades of white, light brown, and pale blue

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Eggs are a compact and natural source of key nutrients, including high-quality protein. Nearly half of an egg’s protein and most of its vitamins and minerals are found in the yolk.

Eggs are recommended for most adults as part of a heart-healthy eating pattern according to the American Heart Association.

Egg yolks contain zeaxanthin—a carotenoid pigment that supports eye health. 

In cohort studies, the risk of cataract development significantly decreased by 26% for every 10 milligrams per day increase in zeaxanthin and by 6% for every 5 milligram per day increase in vitamin A—another important nutrient found in eggs.


Raw salmon fillet
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Salmon is a nutritional powerhouse because it’s packed with high-quality protein and micronutrients like selenium and iodine. Oily cold-water fish like salmon is also one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids.

It’s true that a higher total fat and cholesterol intake can increase your risk of cataracts. On the other hand, eating more omega-3 fatty acids is linked to a reduced cataract development risk.

Walnuts, flax seeds, and chia seeds can also give your diet an omega-3 boost.


A sliced open pumpkin with orange pudding inside.

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As a source of eye health-supporting nutrients like vitamins E and A, pumpkin is a fantastic food to consider if you want to lower your risk of cataracts.

Research has shown that diets high in vitamins E and A are linked to fewer cataracts. Just one serving of pumpkin will give you 10% of the recommended daily intake (RDI) for vitamin E and more than 300% of the RDI for vitamin A.

You can get more of the great gourd in your diet by adding pumpkin to your muffins, oatmeal, and smoothies.

Other Ways to Prevent Cataracts

In addition to adding these foods to your diet, there are some other lifestyle changes that can help reduce your risk of developing cataracts, including:

13 Sources
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  1. National Eye Institute. Cataracts.

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  3. U.S. Department of Agriculture: Food Data Central. Kiwifruit, ZESPRI SunGold, raw.

  4. Food and Drug Administration. Raw fruit poster.

  5. American Heart Association. AHA issues recommendation for eggs as a part of a heart-healthy diet.

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