Important Vitamins for Eye Health

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 02/16/2022 - 11:02
holding glasses in one hand and vitamins in the other hand

We have all heard the sayings. “Eat your vegetables.” “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” “Carrots are good for your eyes.” But where is the truth when it comes to your eye health? The answer lies not so much in fruits or vegetables themselves but in the vitamins that make certain foods nutritious. There are many simple ways you can enhance your eye health and optimize your eyesight day to day.

In this article, we will focus on the use of vitamins to supplement your eye health, including the best vitamins for eyes, specific benefits of certain vitamins, and how to use them to ensure your peepers are as healthy as they can be.

Remember that while vitamins may support your overall eye health, visiting your doctor regularly is vital to preventing and treating any severe loss of eyesight or eye health conditions.

How Vitamins Support Your Eye Health

We do not know the full extent of vitamins’ roles in eye health, but studies are nearly always underway to help us broaden our knowledge of vitamins and their impact. Much like the old sayings we’ve all heard about certain fruits and vegetables, there are plenty of claims out there purporting that certain vitamins will treat or cure any host of eye health conditions and even improve eyesight.

It is essential to separate the claims from the facts and ensure safe use of all vitamins, minerals, and supplements. Vitamins alone are not likely to fix an eye condition nor reverse vision loss. Do not substitute vitamins for the use of any medications that are prescribed by your doctor. Discuss any new vitamin regimen with your eye doctor before proceeding. Vitamins are supplements—literally supplementary nutrition sources to your diet—not cures for your ailments.

Best Vitamins for Your Eyes

All that being said, we know that as a part of the complex biological system of the human body, our eyes require the nutrition of vitamins and minerals to function properly. Let’s explore.


The most well-known nutrient associated with eye health is beta-carotene, which naturally occurs in many plants, fungi, fruits, and vegetables. Beta-carotene is most often mentioned for its occurrence in carrots. Beta-carotene is shown to support eye health and reduce the risk of macular degeneration, particularly in smokers.

Eating a carotenoid-rich diet of carrots, spinach, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale, chard, squash, cantaloupe, bell peppers, and apricots is the best way to ensure you get enough of this nutrient in your diet. However, supplements are also available and can be taken with very little to no health risk.

Beta-carotene is a precursor to Vitamin A, which means our bodies naturally convert beta-carotene into Vitamin A.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is common in most developed countries and most easily attained by eating a nutritious diet. This vitamin helps the cornea stay clear, while also contributing to a protein that assists your eyes in seeing despite low light or dark conditions. In the extremely rare occurrence of a Vitamin A deficiency, you would actually risk developing xerophthalmia, a disease that softens the cornea, leading to night blindness and, eventually, total blindness. Vitamin A may also help reduce the risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.

Vitamin A can be found in sweet potatoes, pumpkins, leafy greens, and bell peppers. Since the nutrient is most readily used in its natural, whole food form, eating it is recommended. You can also find Vitamin A in many multi-vitamin supplements.

B Vitamins

The major B Vitamins, B6, B9, and B12, have been researched and found to help lower the protein levels associated with increased inflammation in the body. Inflammation is associated with the increased risk of developing age-related macular degeneration, amongst many other health conditions.

B Vitamins, particularly B12, can be found in many animal products, including milk, yogurt, cheese, salmon, trout, tuna, clams, sardines, beef, and organ meats. For non-meat eaters, fortified cereals and non-dairy milks are another good option. However, more research is needed to determine how much, if any, affect food and supplements of the B vitamins can directly affect eye health.

Riboflavin is another B Vitamin, and an antioxidant believed to help reduce the risk of oxidative stress on the eyes and other organs. One interesting note is that many patients with cataracts are also found to be deficient in Riboflavin. Scientists are currently studying how Riboflavin may be used to prevent cataracts—until then, obtaining enough Riboflavin in your daily diet is simple. Oats, yogurt, milk, and beef are all great sources of this promising nutrient.

Yet another B Vitamin being investigated for its influence on eyesight is Niacin. Niacin primarily helps our bodies convert food into energy, while also acting as an antioxidant. Recent studies have also suggested a link between Niacin supplementation and reducing the risk of glaucoma. However, more research is needed. Too much Niacin can actually damage the eye with inflammation of the cornea, macular damage, and blurry vision. For this reason, we recommend letting nature do its job. Instead of supplementing, enjoy the modest dose of Niacin you can receive from eating peanuts, beans, mushrooms, fish, beef, and poultry.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a well-known antioxidant that has a whole host of demonstrated benefits, including immunity boosting and protection from the damage of free radicals. Specifically to eye health, Vitamin C is needed to make collagen, a vital protein that helps maintain the structure of your cornea and sclera. Several studies have shown that regular Vitamin C may help to reduce the risk of developing cataracts. Additional studies demonstrate that Vitamin C may, in conjunction with other nutrients, help ease the onset of age-related macular degeneration.

While more studies are needed to bolster the known benefits of Vitamin C on our eyesight, there’s plenty of reason to obtain the super nutrient in our daily diets. Delicious tropical fruits, citrus fruits, kale, broccoli, and bell peppers are all highly nutritious sources of Vitamin C. Taking moderate dose Vitamin C supplements as advised by your doctor is another good option.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is another antioxidant vitamin known for prevention of oxidation damage due to free radicals. Vitamin E may help protect your eye cells from these unstable molecules known as free radicals. Some studies demonstrate that diets high in Vitamin E may help reduce the risk of developing cataracts. One study also found that combining Vitamin E with several other specific nutrients may help reduce the risk of progressing in stages of age-related macular degeneration in patients with the disease.

That being said, more research is needed to help solidify the links between Vitamin E and potential eye health benefits. Vitamin E is found in many healthy foods, such as nuts, seeds, avocado, salmon, and healthy oils. It’s recommended that you get your Vitamin E naturally to help support a well-balanced diet.

Vitamins for Macular Degeneration Treatment

The National Eye Institute released major findings on long-term studies examining the role of a special combination of vitamins and nutrients used to treat patients with age-related vision loss and macular degeneration. Two carotenoids, Lutein and Zeaxanthin, are combined with high doses of Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Zinc, and Copper in a twice-daily capsule form. This combination has been demonstrated to reduce the need for cataract surgery by 32%. Additionally, those with moderate macular degeneration saw a slowdown of vision loss by 25% over a period of six years.

It’s important to note that this antioxidant vitamin combo did not reverse vision loss that already occurred, nor did it totally prevent macular degeneration. Another long-term macular degeneration treatment study is currently underway, so the formulation of the dosages may change again in the future. As such, it is best to discuss the viability of this high-dose vitamin supplementation with your doctor if you have macular degeneration.


No matter what your eye health concerns are, we want you to know that we are here to help. We’ll discuss your needs and present you with the best possible treatment and management options, including the potential use of vitamins as supplements to your balanced diet. Together, we can work to ensure that your eye health is all it can be. Contact us today if you’d like to learn more about the role vitamins can play in treating your total eyesight needs.