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Nutrients for Healthy Eyes

Eat the Right Foods for Healthy Eyes and Vision


Updated March 02, 2009

Do you eat foods that promote healthy eyes? Did you know that certain vitamins and nutrients play an active role in some types of eye disease or chronic eye conditions?

1. Lutein

Recommended: 10 mg per day. Lutein is one of more than 600 known naturally occurring carotenoids. Lutein was found to be present in a concentrated area of the macula, a small area of the retina responsible for central vision. Lutein helps protect the eyes from oxidative stress and high-energy light. This nutrient is found in dark, green, leafy vegetables such as spinach and collards, and also corn and eggs.


Recommended: 500 mg per day. EPA/DHA is an essential fatty acid which stands for docosahexaenoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid. These polyunsaturated fats play a very important role in the function of our bodies, and seem to be necessary for healthy eye function. These essential fatty acids are found in flat seeds and fleshy fish such as tuna or salmon.

3. Vitamin C

Recommended: 500 mg per day. Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that is necessary for normal growth and development. Studies suggest that high levels of vitamin C can reduce the risk of cataracts and also play a role in delaying age-related macular degeneration. This vitamin is found in our favorite morning beverage - orange juice. Other citrus fruits are also a good source of Vitamin C.

4. Vitamin E

Recommended 400mg per day. Vitamin E is the collective name for a set of 8 fat-soluble vitamins with antioxidant properties. Some studies suggest that Vitamin E helps to prevent cataracts, and it might be another factor in delaying macular degeneration. Vitamin E is found in nuts, salads, peanut butter, cereals, sweet potatoes and margarine.

5. Copper

Recommended: 2 mg per day. Copper is a trace nutrient essential to all high plants and animals. It can act as an antioxidant, scavenging damaging particles in the body known as free radicals. Free radicals may contribute to the aging process as well as the development of a number of health conditions. Copper is found in mixed nuts, sunflower seeds, liver, beans and lentils.

6. Zinc

Recommended: 40-80 mg per day. Zinc is an essential mineral found in almost every cell in the body. Zinc is important for a healthy immune system, for healing cuts and wounds, and for maintaining the senses of taste and smell. Red meat and poultry contain a good level of zinc. Zinc can also be found in oysters, fortified cereals, nuts and baked beans.


Veterans LAST Study (Lutein Antioxidant Supplemenation Trial), 2004; Age-Related Eye Disease Study, 2001.

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