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6 Foods To Support Eye Health, According To A Dietitian

Portrait of a woman in a black and white striped tank top standing against a white wall, off to the left side of the frame. She is holding two eggs up in front of her eyes.

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May is Healthy Vision Month, an annual observance created to encourage all Americans to prioritize their eye health.

Keeping your eyes healthy doesn't just mean taking steps to prevent vision conditions like macular degeneration or cataracts—it also supports other aspects of your overall health.

For example, research has shown that people who have conditions affecting their vision are more likely to have other health conditions than people with healthy vision.

Having vision problems may increase your risk for:

How to Protect Your Eyes

Some eye conditions are related to your genes. While you can't do much to reduce your genetic risk, there are some changes that you can make to your diet and lifestyle that can help make it less likely that you'll develop conditions affecting your vision.

Things that you can do to support your eye health include:

  • Engaging in regular physical activity
  • Giving your eyes a break from looking at screens 
  • Quitting cigarette smoking 
  • Maintaining a weight that supports your overall health
  • Wearing sunglasses when you're outside

Eating for Your Eyes

There are also certain nutrients that support eye health. Here are six dietitian-recommended foods rich in these important nutrients that you can include in your diet to help keep your peepers in tip-top shape.

Eggs

A carton of seven brown eggs.
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Many people spend long days on their smartphones, tablets, and computers. While more research is needed, some studies have suggested that blue light might be linked to eye conditions like macular degeneration.

Carotenoids are antioxidants with many roles in the body, some of which relate to your vision. Two carotenoids—lutein and zeaxanthin—have been identified as having the potential to help protect your eyes from blue light.

Some researchers have proposed that less exposure to the potentially harmful effects of blue light could, in turn, help reduce your risk of developing macular degeneration.

Eggs—especially the yolks—naturally contain lutein and zeaxanthin. In fact, a recent study showed that moderate consumption of eggs significantly reduces the risk of developing late-stage age-related macular degeneration over 15 years.

Carrots

A bundle of fresh, bright orange carrots.
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Carrots are always associated with healthy vision, thanks to the nutrient beta-carotene. Research has shown that eating beta carotene-rich food like carrots helps support the ability to see at night as well as to see in dim lighting.

To maximize the health benefits of carrots and help your body with absorption, try eating your carrots cooked instead of raw and pair with a nutritious fat source like olive oil or nuts.

Dark Green Leafy Vegetables

A close of up dark kale leaves with water droplets on them.
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Whether you love kale, collards, or spinach, all green leafy veggies are rich in lutein and zeaxanthin (those carotenoids found in eggs that support eye health).

To give your dishes an eye-health boost, try adding a handful of greens to your smoothie, serving them as a dinner side, or even scrambling them up with your breakfast eggs.

Frozen veggies like greens can be just as nutritious as fresh, which means you can get creative with your dishes even when the greens are not in season.

Strawberries

A plastic carton of fresh strawberries.
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Strawberries are packed with nutrients that support whole-body health but offer some key eye health benefits. Just one cup of strawberries has all the vitamin C you need to get in one day.

Strawberries are among the most widely consumed fruits in the United States, making them a natural choice for eye health support. Research has also suggested that vitamin C may help reduce the risk of developing cataracts in certain populations.

Black Currants

Fresh, shiny black currants.
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Black currants and any foods that are naturally red or purple (like blueberries and purple potatoes) are rich sources of natural flavonoids called anthocyanins.

Anthocyanins appear to have a relaxing effect on the muscles of your eyes (ciliary muscles). Being able to relax these muscles is an important part of treating glaucoma. The nutrient might also help prevent inflammation in the eyes.

Saffron

A white bowl on a wooden table filled with bright red saffron.
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Saffron is a versatile spice that has been used around the world for centuries. Some studies have suggested that consuming certain amounts of saffron might help improve vision. It might also help increase the sensitivity of the retina in people with early macular degeneration.

 

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