Up close of healthy eye that have vitamins and nutrients for support

Top 10 Vitamins and Supplements for Eye Health

Carrots aren’t just for bunnies. For ages, moms have been telling their kids to eat their carrots so they’ll have good vision. (And for those stubborn kids who refused, some clever moms may have even told them carrots would help them see in the dark!)

The vitamin A in carrots might not impart night vision, but it’s certainly no old wives’ tale that this vitamin and several other nutrients are key to eye health and comfort. If you are looking to keep your eyes in tiptop shape, nutrient-rich eye supplements may help.

Who should take eye health supplements?

Eyes are the window to the world, so it is no surprise that eye health is a priority for many. In particular, eye health supplements may benefit the following:

  • Those who want to maintain their eye health as they age
  • Those who want to prioritize their eye comfort and ocular health because of jobs that are demanding on the eyes and vision
  • Those who work on computers, getting exposure to blue light for much of their day
  • Those who spend more than a few hours a day on their phones or in front of the TV, devices that also emit blue light
  • Those who experience occasional eye discomfort
  • Those who want to protect against oxidative stress and free radicals

Are you getting enough vision-supporting nutrients in your diet?

Even the healthiest eaters among us have days when their diet falls short. Indeed, it is hard to get optimal amounts of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids every day without dietary supplements. Vision supplements, in particular, are often loaded with lutein and zeaxanthin, as well as carotenoids, which you probably aren’t getting tons of from food.

A diet high in nutrients for eye health would likely include daily servings of deep green leafy vegetables, carrots, yams, saffron, pistachios and egg yolks—nutrient-dense foods that are high in vitamins and the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin.

If that doesn’t sound like your typical weeknight dinner menu, relax. A daily eye supplement is a good option for nearly everyone, because very few people have a ton of brightly colored orange veggies on their plates every day.

What are the best vitamins and supplements for your eyes?

Decades of age-related eye health studies have conclusively established the value of certain nutrients for eye health. The prestigious eye journal JAMA Ophthalmology has published several of the reports from the ARED study, which found that eye supplements help preserve eye health and comfort. The top 10 vision supplements noted in studies include the following:

  1. Lutein and zeaxanthin. These carotenoids are antioxidants found in nature as colorful pigments in fruits and vegetables. Like lycopene and beta carotene—the precursor of vitamin A—lutein and zeaxanthin help protect the eyes from oxidative stress. The human macula and retina are rich in lutein, zeaxanthin and another carotenoid, meso-zeaxanthin, which help filter blue light and help maintain eye health. Lutein and zeaxanthin have also been studied for brain health.
  2. Astaxanthin. This nutrient is included in vision supplements because of its promise for supporting eye health. Studies indicate astaxanthin may help promote visual sharpness and help fight eye fatigue. Astaxanthin also supports heart and mitochondrial health, promotes a healthy inflammatory response and more.
  3. Saffron. Saffron extract has been extensively studied for its ability to support eye health. At least nine clinical studies have demonstrated that saffron supports visual function and visual acuity (the ability to see clearly) and helps promote macular health.
  4. Bilberry. Multiple studies show bilberry helps fight eye fatigue associated with visual tasks. This fruit (which looks a lot like a blueberry, only smaller and darker) has traditionally been used in Europe to promote night vision. European bilberry is rich in anthocyanins, and these compounds have been shown to support vision health, ocular circulation and whole-body health.
  5. French maritime pine bark extract. French maritime pine bark extract is a nutrient well-known for its ability to promote healthy circulation throughout the body—including your eyes. Vision supplements that pair French maritime pine bark extract with bilberry can help maintain healthy eye pressure.
  6. Vitamin C. Antioxidants are known to be important for keeping the eyes healthy, and vitamin C might be the most famous antioxidant nutrient. The American Optometric Association recommends a diet rich in vitamin-laden foods, including vitamin C, to keep eyes healthy.
  7. Vitamin E. As the “other” famous antioxidant vitamin, vitamin E has also been recognized and studied for its role in preserving healthy vision. Vitamin E is the perfect complement to two other eye-friendly nutrients, vitamin C and fish oil.
  8. Fish oil and omega-3 fatty acids, including DHA. That fish oil that you are taking to support your heart and joint health also may support your eye health. In a survey of Australian and New Zealand optometrists, nearly 80% reported recommending omega-3 fatty acid consumption to support eye health, and over 60% recommended omega-3 supplementation. Omega-3s continue to be studied for their role in healthy eyes.
  9. Zinc. Another antioxidant powerhouse, zinc has been studied for eye health for decades, thanks to its role in getting vitamin A to the retina. Zinc also supports immune, cardiovascular and neurological health, and it helps maintain healthy vision as you age—making this a good mineral supplement to add to your routine.
  10. Maqui berry standardized extract. Maqui berries, also known as Chilean wineberries, are packed with anthocyanidins called delphinidins. These beneficial compounds support the eye’s natural defenses and encourage eye comfort and healthy tear production. They also protect healthy eyes from oxidative stress.

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How to get additional eye support

In addition to dietary supplements, lubricating eye drops can help support your vision health and eye comfort. Sterile drops made with glycerin and additional nutrients, such as the antioxidant N-acetyl-carnosine, help relieve occasional discomfort and help protect your eyes from oxidative stress.

About the Author: Jennifer Jhon graduated from Auburn University with a degree in journalism and communications. She established her career as an editor, designer and writer at several newspapers and magazines. She has been writing about wellness, health and nutrition for 10 years.

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