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Ocular Vision Care

Dr. Rodolfo L. Rodriguez, O.D., P.A.
Home » Eye Health Information » NUTRITION and Eye Health

NUTRITION and Eye Health

In addition to routine visits to your optometric physician, proper nutrition is essential to prevent eye disease and maintain eye health. Proper nutrition for eye health must include antioxidants substances. There is plenty of evidence indicating that disorders such as night blindness to serious eye diseases such as Age Related Macular Degeneration are influenced by our antioxidant consumption. These nutrients are found in vegetables and fruits, particularly those with different color.

Daily consumption of fruits such as blueberries, raspberries, strawberries as well all other colorful fruits that are rich in antioxidants and essential phytonutrients.

Vitamin A  Extreme vitamin A deficiency causes xerophthalmia, a common cause of blindness in developing countries. This is an excellent example of how important is proper nutrition for preserving vision. Xerophthalmia is prevented by eating proper amounts of  fresh fruits and vegetables, and protein rich foods such as fish, meat, poultry, eggs, nuts, grains and dairy products. 

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) A landmark large clinical trial research study, called the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS), demonstrated that supplents of high dosages of antioxidants vitamins A, beta-carotene, C, E, and minerals zinc oxide, and copper, can help to slow down the progression of AMD.  The quantity of vitamins used in this clinical trial would be very difficult to acquire from the diet alone, so patients who have AMD are recommended supplementation with particular vitamins and anti-oxidants either as OTC or prescription. 

Antioxidants are known to protect the eyes from age related damage. It is recommended to consume leafy dark green vegetables well as colored vegetables such as spinach, kale, etc. and fruits, those containing lutein astaxanthin, such as blueberry, bilberry, cherry, etc.

Caratenoids such as Lutein and Zeaxanthin also play a significant role in eye health. The macular pigment found within the central retina is composed of lutein, zeaxanthin, and meso-zeaxanthin which have a protective role in the visual process.  A diet rich in carateniods helps in lowering the risk of developing AMD. These caratenoids can be found naturally in eggs, vegetables and fruits. Particularly in dark leafy green and colored vegetables, such as carrots, kale, spinach, broccoli, collards, corn, yellow peppers, green beans, squash, sweet potatoes, and fruits such as apricots, berries, oranges, and tangerines.

Cold Water fish and Omega-3 essential fatty acids Recent population studies have demonstrated the protective role for fish containing DHA/EPA against advanced age-related macular degeneration. The human body can not make Omega-3 and Omega-6 essential fatty acids, so they must be obtain from our foods or from supplements. Cold water fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring, haddock, tuna, trout, halibut,cod and sardines are rich in the healthy Omega 3 fish oils. Authorities express concern of toxic mercury when eating white tuna, swordfish, tilefish, shark, king mackerel. However Atlantic and Pacific mackerel contain lower levels of mercury. Flax seed oil contain omega-3 essential fatty acids; Omega-3 is one of the best foods for maintain eye health. 

Choleterol is an important health marker. The American Heart Association recommends cholesterol testing beginning at age 20.

Vitamin D: 10 minutes of sun-light exposure provides enough vitamin D to prevent deficiencies, but this can be a problem during winter months Vitamin D is found in many foods such as fish (salmon, tuna), eggs, cod liver oil as well as fortified soy and almond milk.  . Authorities recommend vitamin D supplementation for optimum health. Recently, research suggests that vitamin D is an essential nutrient and deficiency is common in the general population.

Consuming antioxidants and nutrients from our food is often challenging, supplements can assist in improving our nourishment for health vision.  Some of the nutritional needs include Vitamins, minerals and nutrients such as Vitamins A, E, C; Carotenoids, Selenium, Zinc, Copper, Lutein, Zeaxanthin, Asthaxanthin, Ginkgo Biloba, CoQ10, Ubiquinol, Bilberry, Berry Extracts Acetyl-L-Carnitine,  and Glutathione.

Vitamin C

  • Kiwi fruit
  • Oranges
  • Peppers: red and green
  • Potatoes
  • Red cabbage
  • Strawberries
  • Tangerines

Vitamin E

  • Almonds
  • Avocados
  • Broccoli
  • Mangoes
  • Peanuts
  • Sunflower seeds

Soy isofavones

  • Soy beans
  • Soy milk
  • Tofu

Folic acid

  • Asparagus
  • Beets
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Dried beans
  • Garbanzo beans
  • Lentils
  • Turkey

Herbs and spices enhance flavor to our healthy and nutritious meals. Try adding these to your recipes:

  • Basil
  • Cardamom
  • Cinnamon
  • Cumin
  • Fennel
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Mint
  • Parsley
  • Turmeric

CONCLUSION Authorities generally agreed that a good balanced diet that includes sufficient quantity and variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as fish, meat, poultry, whole grain, dairy and nuts is essential for general and eye health. There is also plenty of evidence that the typical diet does not provide for adequate intake of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. For example, most people in the US are not eating the minimum of five servings of fruits and vegetables daily. Therefore, most people should be taking supplements for maintain general and eye health. However, taking supplements is not a substitute for a healthy diet.

There are multiple studies and clinical trials that have demonstrated the important role that anti-oxidants vitamins, minerals, Omega-3 and other nutrients play in many eye diseases including Cataracts, AMD, Night Vision, Dry Eye, Blepharitis and in preserving vision.

Agreat deal of evidence has indicated the importance of  maintaining a balance diet including several serving of fresh fruits and vegetables, and eating the proper amount of nuts, grains, fish, meat, eggs, and dairy products. It is important to eliminate or reduce saturated fat, sodium and added sugar as well as reducing the consumption of animal protein.

Besides proper nutrition, a healthy lifestyle is important for preserving vision. It is imperative to avoid smoking. Also protect your eyes from sunlight (ultra-violet light). Maintain appropriate body weight. Excess weight has been linked to increase risk of developing AMD, Cataract, Glaucoma, and Diabetic Eye Diseases. Drink adequate quantity of water and maintain a regular regimen of exercise; also find time for relaxation and get regular eye exams.

High dosages of vitamins and minerals supplements can have possible side effects. For this reason, it is very important that you discuss your nutrition with your doctors. Consult your doctor before taking supplements and inform all your healthcare providers of any supplements that you are taking.


  • Luteína y Zeaxantina
    El  consumo de luteína carotenoidea y zeaxantina pueden reducir el riesgo de desarrollar degeneración macular debido a la edad (siglas en Ingles AMD). También existe evidencia que puede reducir el  riesgo de desarrollar  cataratas.
    Luteína y zeaxantina se encuentran en las frutas y vegetales.  
     Nuestro cuerpo puede convertir la luteína en zeaxantina. Pero debemos consumirlas diariamente, ya que el cuerpo no las puede fabricar. En general, se recomienda consumir variedad de vegetales y frutas con abundante variedad de colores.