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Supplements That Promote Eye Health

Medically reviewed by Susan Kerrigan, MD and Marianne Madsen on February 6, 2023

It’s a cliche: “Eat carrots; they’re good for your eyes.” But, just as with many old wives’ tales, there is a kernel of truth in this one. There are substances in carrots that really are good for your eyes!


It might seem that whether or not you will have good vision and healthy eyes is a complete toss up and out of your control. But in reality, the content of your diet can definitely have a positive effect on the health of all of your organs, including your eyes.


Beyond eating a healthy diet (including carrots), there is a whole world of supplements out there that people often turn to when they’re not certain they’re eating enough of a certain nutrient. Supplements are a great way to help you get proper nutrition. Remember that the field, in general, is not under the guidance of the FDA, so make sure you are working with your healthcare team to determine what’s best for your specific situation. For information purposes, however, here are some of the supplements that can promote eye health. 


  • Vitamin A is often the first one people think about to help maintain healthy eyes. Every child is well versed in the fact that eating your carrots will give you superhero levels of vision! Specifically, low levels of vitamin A can cause the conjunctiva to develop a white spot and your night vision to be way worse than a cat’s. In severe cases, vitamin A deficiency can even lead to blindness though that doesn’t happen so often in the United States. 
  • Eating enough citrus can both prevent scurvy and promote eye health. Vitamin C in the form of ascorbic acid can greatly reduce your risk for cataracts, though you can’t always avoid them completely as you age. 
  • Omega-3 fatty acids are a crucial part of the human diet for many number of reasons, and eye health is one of them. Fatty acids in general promote proper functioning of the nervous system and boosts up your immune system. They are also necessary for your vision and retina both to develop appropriately. More specifically, a type of fatty acid called DHA helps to reduce inflammation. It also helps the retina specific cells to heal and regenerate after it has been damaged. 


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Sources of Omega 3

Sources of Omega 3

  • Along with vitamins A and C, vitamin E makes up the grouping of vitamins known as antioxidants. Beyond its day job fighting against the evil that is free radicals, vitamin E more specifically moonlights by protecting the cells of the eyes from those very free radicals. Rad, dude!
  • Lutein and zeaxanthin are a pair of vitamins that often come together. They can both reduce your risk of getting certain eye problems like cataracts and macular degeneration.
  • Many are familiar with zinc in its role as a booster for your immune system but are less familiar with the role it plays in the health of your eyes. Without zinc, vitamin A would not be able to get from the liver to your retina so that it can produce melanin. Melanin is a pigment in the eye which provides needed protection, and without zinc, your body wouldn’t be able to manufacture it properly. 
  • Many people are familiar with ginkgo biloba and its role in memory improvement. However, when it comes to eye health, ginkgo may improve vision by aiding proper blood flow. 
  • Bilberry is not a blueberry, though some say that it looks very similar to one. This supplement is not familiar to most people, and you should definitely inform your doctor of any medications you take before trying this one out–it could interact negatively with medications that contain ibuprofen. However, if deemed safe for you to take, bilberry is thought to help improve your night vision. 


Think vision problems are simply a fact of life and there’s nothing you can do about them? Don’t despair! With the help of vitamins and other supplements to promote healthy eyes, you may reduce your risk of eye-related health problems. 


Written by Yonah Leserowitz

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