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Best Vitamins and Supplements for Eye Health

These are the best vitamins and supplements for eye health, which are great for supporting your vision and helping you take better care of your eyes.

Caroline Igo Editor, Sleep
Caroline Igo (she/her/hers) is a wellness editor and holds Sleep Science Coach and Stress Management certificates from the Spencer Institute. She received her bachelor's degree in creative writing from Miami University and continues to further her craft in her free time. Before joining CNET, Caroline wrote for past CNN anchor, Daryn Kagan.
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6 min read
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Want to take control of your eye health? You should already be eating some of the best foods for healthy eyes, including carrots, broccoli and salmon. It's an absolute priority if you plan on protecting your eye health. However, it can be challenging to stick to a balanced diet with the essential vitamins and nutrients your eyes need. That's why you may want to ask yourself: What supplements and vitamins are good for the eyes? 

To help cover whatever you're missing in your diet while working to strengthen your vision and stave off eye disease, opt for vitamins and supplements that benefit eye health. Below are some of the best vitamins and supplements to support your eyes, but of course, you should always consult a doctor before making any changes to your health routine and to find what will work best for you. 

The best supplements for eye health 

Various vitamins on dishes
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In addition to a balanced diet, here are the best vitamins and supplements for your eyes. Luckily, you can get most of these added supplements for less than $10. 

Vitamin A

Foods: salmon, broccoli, fortified breakfast cereals, eggs and carrots

Vitamin A supports your vision, immune system, heart, lungs and overall growth and development. Specifically, vitamin A helps you see a full spectrum of light, as the vitamin produces pigments in the retina. It can also keep your eyes from drying out. You can find vitamin A in foods such as salmon, broccoli, fortified breakfast cereals, eggs and carrots. 

You have probably heard of the magic of carrots. Yes, it's true -- carrots are great for your eyes. Carrots (and other vividly colored fruits and vegetables) are high in beta-carotene, which is a compound that your body uses to make vitamin A. Beta-carotene is also available in a supplement form, although it isn't as common as vitamin A and is often more expensive. 

Vitamin C

Foods: kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, oranges, lemons and strawberries

Vitamin C is like sunscreen for your eyes -- it helps protect them from UV damage. The more time you spend outside and under the sun, the greater the risk for damage. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, too long in the sun can cause irreversible damage. Vitamin C can also lower your risk of cataracts, a disease that causes the lens of your eyes to become cloudy. 

While a recent study found that vitamin C supplementation was effective in patients who were already vitamin C deficient, more studies are needed to truly understand the relationship between vitamin C and a lower risk of cataracts. 

In addition to getting enough vitamin C, avoid tanning beds, and if you are outside, wear sunglasses and a hat to protect your eyes. 

Omega-3s

Foods: tuna, salmon, mackerel, herring, chia seeds, flaxseed and walnuts

Optometrists regularly recommend their patients consume omega-3s -- and if a patient isn't getting enough of these fatty acids in their diet, try a supplement. Omega-3s are mainly found in fatty fish such as tuna, salmon, mackerel or herring and some nuts and seeds. 

The American Optometric Association points to omega-3s as a nutrient that can slow the progress of age-related macular degeneration. Studies have also found that they can help prevent dry eye disease. These nutrients are great for both conditions due to their anti-inflammatory effects. 

Read more: Best Multivitamins

Vitamin E

Foods: sunflower seeds, almonds, peanuts, collared greens, red bell peppers, mangoes and avocados

Another powerful antioxidant, vitamin E, is vital to all our cells and cell functions. It helps to protect our bodies from cancer-causing free radicals and plays an important role in vision. Studies have shown that vitamin E can help protect the retinas from free radicals that can cause eye disease. Vitamin C, another antioxidant, has more properties that help regeneration. Vitamin E can only help to protect the cells already there. 

Vitamin E can also slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration. The American Optometric Association recommends 400 IU a day. 

Zinc

Foods: meat, shellfish, chickpeas, lentils, pumpkin seeds, cashews, almonds, eggs, cheese and milk

Zinc is found in almost all multivitamins because it is such an essential nutrient to the body. It is used to boost the immune system and help the body heal from wounds quickly. Zinc also aids in eye health. 

Zinc helps vitamin A create melanin (a pigment that protects the eyes) and may shield the eyes from age-related macular degeneration. The American Optometric Association recommends 40 to 80 mg a day to slow the progression.

Read more: Best Zinc Supplements

Lutein and zeaxanthin

Foods: kale, spinach, peas, broccoli, orange juice, red peppers, honeydew melons and grapes

Lutein and zeaxanthin are known to be important to our eyes. Lutein and zeaxanthin are carotenoids found in red and yellowish fruits and vegetables, as these compounds give the produce their vibrant colors. Carotenoids, also powerful antioxidants, are vital to eye health. They protect the eyes from free radicals that can cause damage. Lutein and zeaxanthin, specifically, have been found to prevent damage to retinas

These carotenoids can also slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration. The American Optometric Association recommends a daily amount of 10 mg of lutein and 2 mg of zeaxanthin. 

While you can find lutein and zeaxanthin in supplement form, one bottle is on the pricier side. You may find it better, easier and more affordable to just eat more fruits and vegetables.

Vitamins and Supplements Found in Foods

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Vitamin/Supplement Foods
Vitamin A salmon, broccoli, fortified breakfast cereals, eggs and carrots
Vitamin C kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, oranges, lemons and strawberries
Omega-3s tuna, salmon, mackerel, herring, chia seeds, flaxseed and walnuts
Vitamin E sunflower seeds, almonds, peanuts, collared greens, red bell peppers, mangoes and avocados
Zinc meat, shellfish, chickpeas, lentils, pumpkin seeds, cashews, almonds, eggs, cheese and milk
Lutein and zeaxanthin kale, spinach, peas, broccoli, orange juice, red peppers, honeydew melons and grapes

Factors to consider before buying vision vitamins and supplements

Most vitamins and supplements are generally considered safe for people to take, as they're nutrients your body naturally requires. You should always talk to your doctor before starting any supplements. Some vitamins and supplements can interact with various medications. Especially if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, consult a medical provider first. Your doctor should be able to safely guide you to the best vitamins and supplements for eye health, as well as proper dosages. 

Eye Health Tips

In addition to the best vitamins and supplements for eye health, there are other ways you can protect your eyes and preserve your vision health:

  • Wear sunglasses: Sunglasses block harmful UV light, decreasing your risk of cataracts, eye cancer, and sunburn.  
  • Screen breaks: The American Optometric Association recommends the 20-20-20 rule, which states that every 20 minutes, you look away from your screen at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. 
  • Physical activity: The American Academy of Ophthalmology reported on a study that found a correlation between exercise and eye damage prevention, though more studies are needed. 
  • Avoid smoking: Smoking cigarettes can lead to eye diseases that result in vision loss and blindness, according to the Food and Drug Administration. 
  • Get regular eye exams: Even if you have perfect vision, it is important to regularly get an eye exam to catch potential issues early. How often you should get an eye exam depends on your age. For instance, people ages 20 to 39 should get an eye exam every 5 years, while those ages 65 and up should get an eye exam every 1 to 2 years. 
  • Remove your makeup: Before bed, you should always remove your makeup to prevent eye irritation and inflammation

Best vitamins for eyes FAQs

What is the best vitamin for the eyes?

Vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, omega-3s, zinc and lutein and zeaxanthin are all important vitamins for the eyes. If you are curious as to which vitamins you need more of, consult your doctor. 

What vitamin is lacking for your eyes?

This can vary from person to person, but the best way to find out what vitamin is lacking for your eyes is to consult your doctor. Your doctor can schedule tests to help determine whether you are lacking a certain vitamin that could be beneficial for your eye health. 

Does vitamin B12 improve eyesight?

According to Eye MD Monterey, vitamins B12 and B6 can improve eye health, support the optic nerve, reduce your chances of having blind spots, and reduce the chances of having Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD), which causes blurred vision. 

Do vitamins for the eyes really work?

Vitamins for your eyes are especially helpful when you are deficient in any essential vitamins for vision. These include vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, omega-3s, zinc and lutein and zeaxanthin. Studies have found that these vitamins and nutrients can help protect your eyes and even slow the process of age-related eye diseases. While these supplements are not a cure, they support eye health. 

What supplements can I take to improve my eyesight?

You can take vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, omega-3s, zinc and lutein and zeaxanthin. While all are available in supplement form at various prices, you can naturally obtain these vitamins and nutrients in a balanced diet.

How can I restore my 20/20 vision naturally?

More studies need to be conducted to fully determine if 20/20 vision can be naturally restored, but there are many natural ways to protect your eyes and even improve your eye health. These include limiting sun exposure, wearing UV sunglasses and a hat, getting all the essential vitamins and minerals through your diet or supplements, taking breaks from staring at a screen, getting enough sleep and practicing eye exercises. 

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.