Improve Your Eyesight With These 6 Common Foods

Our eyesight is perhaps the most valuable of our 5 senses. Many people, however, are susceptible to degenerative conditions of the eyes. In just the United States, we spend about 7 billion dollars every year just to treat cataracts. Cataracts affect about 22 million Americans that are over 40 years of age.


A whopping 75 percent of all adults require, or will require, some sort of corrective lenses. 11 percent opt for contact lenses, with 64 percent preferring glasses, according to the Vision Council of America.

Photo credit: bigstock

Photo credit: bigstock

While it’s safe to say that this country has a vision problem, other than suggesting that one adopt a healthy diet, no preventative measures have been developed. Why is it that we live in an age of heart and lung transplants, but we have no technology to preserve our eyesight?

Luckily, eating a natural, healthy diet is powerful medicine. It’s been shown that eating certain foods can have a direct impact on your vision and eye health.

Take a look at the top 6 foods that will keep your eyes healthy and beat degenerative vision.


  1.  Almonds

These tree nuts are packed with vitamin E and have been scientifically proven to slow the effects of macular degeneration. All it takes is a handful a day to give you about half of your daily recommended dose of vitamin E. Almonds are also a great anti-cancer food as they contain amygdalin, more commonly known as vitamin B17, or laetrile.

You just can’t beat almonds for healthy eating. They are anti-cancer, promote eye health, prevent heart disease, lower cholesterol, improve your complexion and can help you lose weight, just to name a few of their benefits. Always choose raw, unsalted, organic almonds for best health.


2.  Egg Yolks

A leading cause of vision loss for those over 65 is age-related macular degeneration, or AMD. Eating egg yolks on a regular basis, however, can slow this process. AMD is a degenerative process that affects the macula, a very tiny area at the back of the eye, which leads to vision loss.

Egg yolks are high in lutein, a yellow colored antioxidant that belongs to a family of compounds that are known as carotenoids. Lutein, along with a similar compound called zeaxanthin; accumulate in the macula of your retinas, killing off free radicals and act as blue light filters.


Experts say that we need about 6 mgs of these eye protecting antioxidants every day. One egg yolk has about 0.25 mgs of lutein, and even more if you consume it raw. The body absorbs the lutein in egg yolks much more easily that it does from other food sources, such as fruits or vegetables. If you consume lutein along with olive oil or coconut oil, it enhances the absorption even more. There are many foods that contribute to eye health, but egg yolks are believed to be one of the best.


3. Spinach

This leafy green salad staple contains a great deal of lutein, and can work miracles when it comes to your eyes. Eating it raw is usually the best way to get all of its healthy antioxidants as cooking it tends to damage some of its nutrients.

Lutein and zeaxanthin are considered to be macular pigments. Having these macular pigments has been shown to lower the risk of developing AMD, and might also play a part in age-related cataracts. Among carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin are the only ones that are actually found within the lens of the eye.

Collard greens, kale, broccoli, romaine lettuce, peas, zucchini, and Brussels sprouts all contain high amounts of lutein, so add plenty of these to your next salad.


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4.  Blueberries

It seems as if blueberries are popping up on all the “best” or “top” lists these days. It’s no wonder either, as these little dark blue pearls are simply packed with everything healthy!  Blueberries are sometimes called “brain berries” and are thought to be perhaps the healthiest food on earth. Their blue casings contain an antioxidant called anthocyanins, which help the body by protecting it from damage on multiple levels.

Eating blueberries can help protect the retina from excessive sunlight and oxygen damage. The antioxidant levels of blueberries actually increase when they are frozen, also, so keep a bag in the freezer and add a handful of those delicious little fruits to everything. They make a great snack, also. Read more about benefits from blueberries.


5. Carrots

Although eating carrots won’t necessarily reverse your bad eyesight, it can improve the overall health of your eyes. Carrots are also high in lutein and beta-carotene, which the body converts into vitamin A. This is a very important vitamin when it comes to your eye health as a lack of it is the main cause of blindness in developing countries around the world.

Foods that are orange colored, such as pumpkins, apricots, cantaloupe, sweet potatoes, and mangos all have high levels of beta carotene.


6. Black Currant

These fruits have some of the highest levels of anthocyanins anywhere in nature. They have super anti-inflammatory properties and essential fatty acids. These might be difficult to find fresh at your supermarket, but ask around at Farmers markets and you should find someone who grows them.

Sources:, Black Currant


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British Royal Horticultural Society, Black Currants, Bilberry

Advances in Gerontology 2005;16:76-9

American Optometric Association, Lutein and Zeaxanthin

British Journal of Ophthalmology Aug 1998; 82(8): 907–910

Opthalmology 117 (12): 2395-2401, December 2010

Reuters December 24, 2009

Reuters May 13, 2009

Dr. Mark Tso Bio

Pure Appl. Chem., Vol. 71, No. 12, pp. 2253±2262, 1999 (PDF)

Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture May 1, 2001: 81(6); 559-568

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  • david h li

    It is always good to read articles on healthful food. Out of the six items mentioned in this article, I usually take a spoonful of almonds (or other nuts) with breakfast; however, I find natural almonds too hard to chew. On yolks (#2), one must be careful of yolks’ implication to high colestoral; for each day, I cannot even eat a whole egg — only half of a yolk. On spinach (#3), being on coumadin, I have to shy away. Blueberries and carrots (#4 and #5) are ok. For black currant (#6), I don’t even know what it is; perhaps a photo might help. omooc