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7 Important Vitamins and Nutrients for Eye Health

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 06/10/2024

Poor eyesight is a common sign of aging, and certain nutrient deficiencies can worsen the ability to see clearly. 

However, eating a balanced diet and supplementing with specific vitamins and minerals can promote eye health and reduce the risk of ocular disease.

Discover seven important vitamins for eye health and learn why a nutritious ketogenic diet helps support vision naturally.

Woman pointing at her eye

7 important vitamins and nutrients for eye health

Aging and nutrient deficiencies are linked to poor or worsening eyesight. Luckily, various vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids can support vision and reduce the risk of ocular issues.

Here are seven essential nutrients for eye health. 

1. Vitamin A

Vitamin A helps produce photopigments in the retina via a process known as phototransduction, which is how the eye captures the light spectrum. This fat-soluble vitamin also assists in lubrication, reducing the risk of various dry eye diseases and vision loss.

“Vitamin A is one of the most important eye vitamins and can help improve night blindness and dry eye and reduce the risk of cataracts as you age,” explains Dr. Berg. 

Vitamin A deficiency is often caused by an ultra-processed diet, malabsorption issues due to intestinal permeability, or low bile production. 

Because vitamin A is fat-soluble, it requires the presence of fatty acids and bile to be absorbed. This leaves those with bile deficiency or a sluggish gallbladder at a higher risk of deficiency.

Retinol is the most bioavailable form of vitamin A and is found in animal products such as:

  • Dairy

  • Oily fish

  • Beef

  • Chicken

  • Organ meats

  • Eggs  

2. B Vitamins

B vitamins, a complex of eight different vitamins, support healthy nerve cell function and keep the protective myelin sheath around the nerves intact. This reduces the risk of optic nerve damage linked to eye diseases such as glaucoma. 

A study published in Nutrients found that a diet high in B vitamins helps reduce vision loss and lower the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Deficiencies are often linked to a high-carb diet, which can impair the absorption of B vitamins in the gut. Vitamin B malabsorption can also result from gastrointestinal issues, such as Crohn’s disease and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Rich sources of B vitamins include:

Watch the video below to learn more about the best vitamins for ocular health.

The MOST Important Vitamins For Eye Health

3. Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that protects the eye from ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sunlight. It also reduces the risk of nuclear cataracts, which cause cloudy or blurred vision. 

The antioxidant properties of vitamin C mitigate the effects of harmful free radicals and help prevent oxidative stress, which contributes to various ocular diseases. 

A study published in the American Academy of Ophthalmology found that vitamin C supplementation slowed the progression of nuclear cataracts in aging adults.

Vitamin C is found in a variety of plant foods, including:

  • Bell peppers

  • Brussels sprouts

  • Berries

  • Broccoli

  • Kale

  • Lemons

4. Vitamin D

Vitamin D is essential for many bodily functions, including immune defenses, bone health, and mood regulation. It also helps support eyesight due to its potent anti-inflammatory properties, reducing the risk of AMD. 

A study published in the Indian Journal of Ophthalmology found that vitamin D  ”...may be crucial in the treatment of ocular surface conditions such as dry eye disease and keratoconus. Vitamin D is multifaceted in corneal wound healing with its anti-inflammatory and extracellular matrix remodeling properties.”

While vitamin D is mainly sourced from the sun, it can also be found in food, such as:

  • Wild-caught fish, including salmon, tuna, and sardines

  • Egg yolks

  • Mushrooms

  • Cod liver

  • Beef liver

Taking a cod liver oil supplement can also provide optimal amounts of vitamins D and A, along with omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for promoting eye health. 

Foods rich in vitamin E

5. Vitamin E

The antioxidant properties of vitamin E can reduce free radicals in the body and may help protect the delicate tissue in the eyes from damage that could lead to cataracts and other ocular diseases. 

A review conducted by the National Eye Institute suggests that Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) protocol may benefit those at risk of age-related macular degeneration, which blurs  central vision.

The AREDS protocol includes supplementation with high doses of vitamin E and other nutrients, including beta carotene, vitamin C, copper, zinc, and two carotenoids called lutein and zeaxanthin.

The following foods are rich sources of vitamin E:

  • Sunflower seeds

  • Avocados

  • Almonds

  • Asparagus

  • Leafy greens, such as spinach, Swiss chard, and kale 

  • Broccoli

6. Omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are a group of beneficial fats such as alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). 

The retina contains high concentrations of these fatty acids, especially DHA, which explains why omega-3 fats can promote good vision.

A study published in the International Journal of Ophthalmology found that omega-3 fats help lubricate the eye and support tear production.

Omega-3 deficiency can lead to dry eyes and is often caused by not eating enough omega-3-rich foods or regularly consuming seed oils and grains high in omega-6 fatty acids.  

Some of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids are:

  • Cod liver

  • Wild-caught fish such as salmon, tuna, and sardines

  • Chia seeds

  • Flaxseed oil

7. Zinc

Zinc is a trace mineral that facilitates the production of melanin in the retina. Melanin is the pigment in the eye that helps protect it from UV damage and oxidative stress. 

A study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that inadequate zinc levels may contribute to chronic ocular disease development and progression. 

Zinc deficiency, linked to a greater risk of cataracts and macular degeneration, is often caused by excess phytates in the diet. Phytates can inhibit intestinal zinc absorption and are found in whole grains, legumes, and certain nuts.  

Zinc-rich foods include:

  • Seafood such as crab, oysters, lobster, and fish

  • Beef

  • Pork

  • Eggs

  • Dairy products

Selection of low-carb foods

What is the best diet to support eye health?

A nutrient-dense ketogenic diet, rich in healthy fats, high-quality protein, and plenty of vegetables, can help maintain optimal nutrient stores, essential to promote good vision and support overall health. 

A Healthy Keto® diet focuses on seven to ten cups of organic vegetables daily, which boosts carotenoid intake, including lutein and zeaxanthin. These nutrients have been shown to significantly enhance eye health and reduce the risk of macular degeneration.

In addition, a study published in Nutrients found that lutein and zeaxanthin filter blue light and reduce oxidation and free radicals in the retina.

A low-carb ketogenic diet limits sugar and grains, which are detrimental to eye health as they cause inflammation and oxidative stress, both of which are linked to various ocular conditions.

This also explains why high-carb diets can lead to diabetic retinopathy, a leading cause of blindness.

Woman holding supplement

Key takeaways

Various health issues, including poor eyesight and ocular disease, are associated with nutrient deficiencies. 

The best vitamins for eye health include vitamin A in the form of retinol, B vitamins, and vitamins C, D, and E. Zinc, omega-3 fatty acids, and the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin are also linked to improved visual perception and overall function of the eyes.

A nutritious low-carb diet, such as Healthy Keto, focuses on plenty of vegetables, oily fish, organic dairy, and grass-fed beef. This helps avoid the detrimental effects of sugars and carbs on eye health and promotes the body’s nutrient stores. 


1. What are the best vitamins for the eyes?

Vitamins A, B, C, D, and E are some of the best vitamins to promote healthy vision and reduce the risk of eye diseases, including dry eye syndrome, night blindness, and optic neuropathy. 

Additionally, zinc, omega-3 fatty acids, and the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin are associated with good eye health and a lower risk of age-related macular degeneration.

2. How can I improve my eye health naturally?

A diet rich in healthy fats, protein, and vegetables, such as the Healthy Keto® diet, can promote the body’s nutrient stores and good vision. 

Taking high-quality supplements targeting ocular health, including the B vitamin complex and vitamins A, C, E, and D, can help ensure adequate intake of eye-health-promoting nutrients. 

3. What minerals are needed for better eyesight?

Combining a mineral supplement containing zinc and copper with antioxidants such as vitamins A, C, and E has been shown to slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration by 25 percent. Research also found that zinc benefits visual acuity and object clarity.

4. Which form of vitamin A is best for the eyes?

Preformed vitamin A, widely known as retinol, is the best form of vitamin A to promote healthy eyes. Retinol can be obtained from animal sources such as fatty fish, beef, dairy products, liver, and eggs. 


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9318446/ 

  2. https://www.aaojournal.org/article/S0161-6420(16)00114-7/fulltext 

  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10276688/ 

  4. https://www.nei.nih.gov/about/news-and-events/news/ 

  5. https://www.nei.nih.gov/learn-about-eye-health/eye-conditions-and-diseases 

  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3874521/ 

  7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11349933/ 

  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8874683/

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