Eye-friendly nutrients

A healthy eyes recipe

Read more about optometry's opportunity to reinforce proper nutrition.

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Excerpted from page 38 of the November/December 2019 edition of AOA Focus.

Research shows that adding certain nutrients to patients' daily diets can help preserve their vision.

But not all nutrients are created equal. What is considered the pièce de résistance of eye-friendly nutrients?

Lutein & zeaxanthin

The recommendation
10 mg/day lutein
2 mg/day zeaxanthin

The best choice

Kale (cooked)
1 cup ...... 23.8 mg

The reason

Lutein and zeaxanthin, carotenoids, help neutralize oxidative damage as well as filter high-energy blue light reaching the eye, in turn reducing the risk of AMD and cataracts.

Vitamin A

The recommendation
400-700 mcg Retinol Activity Equivalents

The best choice
Beef liver
3 oz. ...... 6,582 mcg RAE

The reason
Vitamin A is an essential component of rhodopsin, while also supporting functioning of the conjunctival membranes and cornea.

Vitamin C

The recommendation
500 mg/day

The best choice
Orange juice
1 cup ...... 124 mg

The reason
Vitamin C, ascorbic acid, promotes healthy blood vessels and helps neutralize oxidative damage that can lead to cataract development or AMD progression.

Vitamin E

The recommendation
400 IU/day

The best choice
Cereal, wheat germ
1 cup ...... 27 IU

The reason
Vitamin E helps neutralize oxidative damage, in turn helping reduce AMD progression and cataract formation.


The recommendation

11 mg/day for men
8 mg/day for women
80 mg/day for high risk of AMD (may need to also take 2 mg/day copper)

The best choice
Oysters (raw)
6 (medium) .........76.3 mg

The reason
Zinc helps vitamin A produce melanin to protect the eye and may help delay AMD progression, while a zinc deficiency has been linked to poor night vision.

Essential fatty acids

The recommendation
1 g/day of EPA + DHA

The best choice
Salmon (cooked)
3 oz. ...... 1,800 mg

The reason
Omega-3 fatty acids, particularly DHA and EPA, promote visual development and healthy retinal function, while an omega-3 deficiency may be linked to dry eye.

January 20, 2020

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