A feast for the eyes: nutrition and your vision

Keeping an eye out for the right foods to protect your vision and eye health? Look no further.

There's a strong link between good nutrition and reduced risk of eye diseases such as cataracts, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and glaucoma. Here's the nutrients that will help and where to find them:

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is a key ingredient for healthy eyes, more specifically, the two specific carotenoid forms of vitamin A: lutein and zeaxanthin. These carotenoids are found inside the retina of the human eye and help protect the retina and cornea, and defend against age-related eye disorders.

Get it from: spinach, kale, beet greens (the leaves of the beetroot), carrots, squash, pumpkin and Swiss chard.


Betalains help protect the specialised nerve signalling that is vital for communication between the eyes and brain.

Get it from: Swiss chard, beetroot and rhubarb.


Antioxidants protect the body against free-radical damage and keep cells healthy. This may reduce the risk of cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration.

Get it from: Green tea, tumeric, garlic.


This marine algae is the compound that gives flamingos their lovely pink colour. Prawns and Pacific salmon also derive their colouring from astaxanthin. Eat two to three times a week to support eye health.

Get it from: Salmon, prawns. Maybe don't eat the flamingos!

Vitamin C

Studies have shown that nerves in the eye require vitamin C to function properly.

Get it from: Strawberries, kiwi, raw peppers, spinach, broccoli, carrot.

Vitamin E

This is another potent antioxidant that may reduce oxidation in the eye and support eye health.

Get it from: avocado, raw almonds, sunflower seeds.


High levels of zinc are found in the retina so healthy levels are thought to help maintain good eye health.

Get it from: sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds.

Lifestyle factors also contribute to eye health. Those who smoke or drink alcohol require more vitamin A as alcohol depletes it from the body and tobacco interferes with its absorption. Take steps to give up smoking, eat a diet rich in the carotenoids listed above and manage stress to best support eye health.

Last updated Friday 14 December 2018