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What Are the Best & Worst Foods for Eye Health?

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Your eyes are one of the most important parts of your body, and taking care of them can decrease your risk of eye problems. Regular eye exams are a preventative measure against many eye diseases as they help detect eye problems before they worsen and affect your vision. 

Another way to take care of your eyes is to consider the impact of your daily food choices. Foods that can help improve eye health and reduce the risk of eye conditions include:

  • Fish
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Leafy green vegetables
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Eggs

On the other hand, the worst foods for eye health can include:

  • High salt and sugar content foods
  • Processed foods
  • Fried and fast food

Nutrition & Eye Health

Nutrition plays a pivotal role in maintaining optimal eye health. Your diet can have long-term effects on ocular health by increasing your risk of certain age-related eye diseases.

Our eyes rely on certain nutrients to function. Metabolic processes, vitamins, and minerals are integral to maintaining the eye structures, such as the iris, retina, photoreceptors, lens, and cornea. 

Vitamins A, C, E, beta-carotene, and zinc support ocular health and defend against oxidative damage influenced by genetics, the environment, and your lifestyle choices. 

Best Foods for Eye Health

Based on age-related eye disease studies (AREDS), the American Optometric Association and the American Academy of Ophthalmology recommend the following best foods for eye health


Fish such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring, and trout are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids, essential for maintaining eye health. A diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids may provide long-term benefits for dry eye disease (DED) and age-related macular degeneration (AMD). If you don’t eat fish, consider incorporating flaxseeds, chia seeds, or walnuts into your diet for a plant-based omega-3 fix.

Nuts & Seeds

Nuts such as walnuts, Brazil nuts, cashews, and peanuts, and seeds such as chai, flax, and hemp are not just tasty snacks; they also contain vitamin E, which can protect the eyes from damage. 

Leafy Green Vegetables

Dark, leafy greens like spinach, kale, and collards have lutein and zeaxanthin, nutrients that help protect against age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts. Include a generous portion of greens in your salads, smoothies, or sautés to give your eyes the boost they deserve.

Fruits & Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables like sweet potatoes, bell peppers, oranges, grapefruit, and all types of berries have loads of vitamins A and C or antioxidants that support eye health by fighting age-related damage to the eyes. 

Carrots are high in beta-carotene, a precursor to vitamin A, which is essential for many biological processes, including vision. They also contain lutein and zeaxanthin, which provide additional eye health benefits.


Eggs are a nutrient powerhouse, containing lutein and zeaxanthin, similar to leafy greens that protect against age-related vision loss. Additionally, they provide vitamins C and E and zinc.

Worst Foods for Eye Health

ARED studies, while not conclusive, have identified some foods associated with age-related eye disease

High Sugar Foods

Excessive sugar intake isn’t just detrimental to your waistline; it can also impact your vision. Foods high in sugar can include:

  • Sweets and candy
  • Baked goods and cakes
  • Ice creams, sauces, and syrups
  • Added sugars in processed foods
  • Sweetened beverages and sodas

A diet high in sugar can lead to diabetes, and diabetes can increase your risk of vision problems and eye diseases. If you have diabetes, visit your eye doctor for a diabetic eye exam to help identify potential eye-related diabetes problems. 

High Sodium Foods

A diet high in sodium can lead to high blood pressure. Systemic high blood pressure can induce vascular changes in the eye, including the retina (the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye), and increase your risk of other eye-related conditions. 

Processed Foods

Highly processed foods often contain unhealthy trans fats that can compromise your eye health. These fats may contribute to retinal damage, increasing the risk of macular degeneration. Opt for whole, unprocessed foods whenever possible to support your eyes and overall health.

Saturated and Trans Fats

Foods rich in saturated and trans fats, such as red meat and processed snacks, can negatively impact eye health with a significant association with early AMD

An optometrist performing a slit-lamp exam on his patient.

Proper Nutrition for Healthy Vision

Your diet plays a crucial role in maintaining healthy eyes. By incorporating nutrient-rich foods like leafy greens, omega-3-rich fish, and fruits and vegetables, you’re providing your eyes with the essential vitamins and antioxidants they need. On the flip side, steering clear of processed foods, excessive sugar, and unhealthy fats can help reduce your risk of certain eye-related diseases. Proper nutrition through food and supplements can help you sustain healthy eyes and vision.

Contact us at Los Angeles EyeCare for information on improving your diet or what supplements to take based on your needs.

Written by Total Vision

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