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The BEST and WORST Foods for Your Eye Health!


If you’re looking for a diet that’s healthy for your eyes, that can help to improve your eyesight, and even protect against eye diseases – then  that’s what we’re going to cover! The even better news: this same way of eating can help your heart,  your brain, and the rest of your body too! Plus, you’ll enjoy many delicious and savvy choices of foods.

People often believe that failing eyesight is an inevitable result of ageing, and eye strain. In truth, a healthy lifestyle and prioritising the inclusion of certain vitamins, minerals, and antioxidant nutrients in your diet – can significantly reduce the risk of eye health problems. We’ve previously talked about tips for improving your eye health and even how to improve your eyesight with nutrients, but let’s discuss the best and worst foods for your eyesight.

Don’t Take Your Eyes for Granted

Before we jump on into how to eat for healthier eyes, let’s consider the issues that we face regarding eye health.

Based on self-reported data, 55% of Australians have one or more long-term eye conditions, with long-term vision disorders affecting 93% of people aged 55 and over. [1]

While many of these vision disorders can be supported with glasses, what is most concerning is the increasing incidence of diseases such as cataracts and macular degeneration, with more than 450,000 people living with vision impairment or blindness as a result. [2]

One in seven Australians over age 50 have some signs of macular degeneration, and while authorities suggest that age is the strongest known risk factor, the underlying cause is less likely to be age, and more likely to be a consistent lack of the helpful, protective nutrients in the diet over many decades.

‘Macular Degeneration’ includes age-related macular degeneration and diabetic eye disease, along with other less common diseases of the macula. Macular Disease Foundation Australia says that macular degeneration is the leading cause of legal blindness in Australia, responsible for half of all cases of blindness. [3]

Fortunately, it IS possible to reduce the risk of losing sight from AMD by adopting a healthy lifestyle.

How to Eat for Healthier Eyes

Though a variety of different factors cause eye conditions such as diabetic retinopathy, age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma and cataracts – nutrition seems to have an influence on all of them, at least in part.

The first thing to understand about these degenerative eye health problems – is that the problems can stem from, or at the very least be triggered by oxidative stress and inflammation caused by the typical western diet.

The western diet is loaded with processed carbs and sugar amongst other things, and this depletes you of certain nutrients and causes oxidative stress and inflammation that leads to damage to the sensitive eye structures.

Ophthalmologist and researcher, Dr. Chris Knobbe, goes as far as saying the risk of developing Age-Related Macular Degeneration alone, is about 74 times higher if you’re eating a typical western diet versus a whole food, ancestral diet. [4]

So maintaining a well-balanced, whole-food diet, that’s low in processed foods, is the foundation for keeping your eyes healthy. Starting good eating habits as soon as possible can help you see your best, and may decrease your risk of certain serious eye problems and other health issues later on. [5]

Eyes are intricate and complex organs, and your eyes need many different vitamins and nutrients to function properly – so good foods and good nutrition play a vital role in maintaining healthy vision. Many eye conditions may be completely avoidable if you stop eating problematic foods, and include foods and supplements that contain a range of vitamins, nutrients, minerals, and antioxidants. In fact, large studies have found that there are specific nutrients that can significantly reduce the risk of age-related decline in eye health.

Although your risk of getting these conditions depends to some extent on your genes, your diet, nutrition, and lifestyle  – plays a major role. You can reduce your risk of many eye conditions by caring for your eyes with what you expose them and your body to, by supplementing and by leading a healthy lifestyle. [6]

“Prevention is better than intervention”,  and round 90% of all blindness and vision impairment in Australia is preventable or treatable. [7] So the earlier you start looking after the health of our eyes, the better your chances of maintaining good vision, for the rest of your life.

“An ounce of PREVENTION is worth a ton of INTERVENTION!”

Corey Sievers

The Nutrients Your Eyes Crave

There are many vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that are required for good health and these must be supplied through diet or supplementation. Or in the case of vitamin D, through the exposure of our skin to sunshine.

Many of these key vitamins and nutrients have been shown to help maintain eye health:

  • Vitamin A – Vitamin A plays a crucial role in vision by maintaining a clear cornea, which is the outside covering of your eye. This vitamin is also a component of rhodopsin, a protein in your eyes that allows you to see in low light conditions. Foods rich in vitamin A include eggs, butter, beef or chicken liver, and dairy.
  • Vitamin E –  Many eye conditions are believed to be associated with oxidative stress and inflammation. Vitamin E is a potent antioxidant that helps protect your eye cells from damage. It works best when paired with foods rich in vitamin C and carotenoids. Vitamin E-rich foods include hazelnuts and almonds. Salmon, avocado, and leafy green vegetables are also good sources.
  • Vitamin C – Like vitamin E, vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that may protect your eyes against oxidative damage. In addition, vitamin C is required to make collagen, a protein that provides structure to your eye, particularly in the cornea and sclera. Citrus and tropical fruits, broccoli, and kale contain particularly high amounts of vitamin C, making them great options to boost your daily intake.
  • Vitamins B6, B9, and B12. – This combination of vitamins can lower levels of homocysteine, a protein in your body that may be associated with inflammation and an increased risk of developing AMD. Meats, eggs, nuts and seeds, leafy vegetables, fruits, and legumes are all sources of these B group vitamins.
  • Riboflavin (B2) – Another B vitamin studied in relation to eye health is riboflavin or B2. As an antioxidant, riboflavin has the potential to reduce oxidative stress in your body, including your eyes. In particular, scientists are studying riboflavin’s potential to prevent cataracts, as prolonged riboflavin deficiency may lead to this condition. Many people with cataracts also are deficient in this antioxidant. Some quality sources include eggs, organ meats (kidneys and liver), lean meats, and dairy.  Green vegetables also contain riboflavin
  • Niacin (B3) – The main function of niacin in your body is to help convert food into energy. It can also act as an antioxidant and vasodilator improving nutrient delivery to the cells. Studies have suggested that niacin may play a role in the prevention of glaucoma, a condition in which the optic nerve of your eye becomes damaged. Some food sources include beef, poultry, fish, mushrooms, and legumes.
  • Thiamine (B1) – Thiamine plays a role in proper cell function and converting food into energy and it is considered effective at reducing the risk of cataracts. Food sources of thiamine include beef, liver, dairy, nuts, oranges, pork, eggs, seeds, legumes, and nutritional yeast.
  • Zinc – This aids vitamin A in reducing the risk of night blindness. According to the Age-Related Eye Disease Study, those who are at high risk of age-related macular degeneration could slow the progression by about 25% and visual acuity loss by 19% by getting more zinc. Great sources include oysters and shellfish, beef or dark meat, eggs, dairy, legumes, nuts, and seeds.
  • Lutein and zeaxanthin – Lutein and zeaxanthin are part of the carotenoid family, a group of beneficial compounds synthesised by plants. Both of these carotenoids can be found in the macula and retina of your eyes, where they help filter potentially harmful blue light, thus protecting your eyes from damage. Several studies suggest that these plant compounds may prevent cataracts and prevent or slow the progression of AMD. These carotenoids are found in the retina, so foods rich in these nutrients can improve pigment density. You can find them in most yellow and orange fruits as well as leafy greens.
  • Beta-carotene – This works best when your diet includes foods rich in zinc and vitamins C and E. You can eat carrots, kale, spinach, sweet potatoes, and reduce the progression of macular degeneration.
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acid – The cell membranes of your retina contain a high concentration of DHA, a particular type of omega-3. Besides helping form the cells of your eye, omega-3 fats have anti-inflammatory properties which may play a role in the prevention of diabetic retinopathy and other disorders. To increase omega-3 fatty acids in your diet, include fatty fish and seafood, fish oil or krill oil supplements, flaxseed, chia seeds, and walnuts.

These helpful nutrients all play a role in eye health and they can help prevent cataracts, and fight the most-likely cause of vision loss when you’re older: age-related macular degeneration (AMD). [8] [9]

Good eye health starts with the food on your plate. Avoiding processed foods that are lacking in the above vital nutrients, as well as including more nutrient-dense whole foods, full of these essential eye health nutrients, is a savvy approach.

The BEST Foods for Your Eye Health

Fish and Seafood

The omega-3 fatty acids that keep your heart and brain healthy may also protect your eyes by fighting inflammation and helping cells work better. 

Cold-water fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines, anchovies, and halibut are rich in omega-3 fatty acids that help protect against dry eye as well as eye diseases such as macular degeneration and cataracts.

All fish and shellfish contain omega-3s but higher concentrations are found in oily varieties of fish such as salmon, mackerel, anchovies, trout, herring and sardines (and tuna to a lesser degree). Some studies have found that fish oil can reverse dry eyes, including dry eye caused by spending too much time on a computer. 

Just two oysters give you more than enough daily zinc, which keeps the retina of your eye in top working order. In fact shellfish like oysters, serve as one of the best natural sources of the essential mineral zinc. It helps in the natural production of melanin, a pigment required for eye protection. Night blindness and cataracts are two of the most common implications of zinc deficiency. Moreover, healthy levels of zinc are also known to slow down the progression of early-stage macular degeneration.

Aim to eat fish or seafood two to three times per week, either fresh, frozen, or tinned.

Leafy Green Vegetables

Green veggies contain many nutrients and fibres for health, and for eye health they are loaded with carotenoids and other phytonutrients. 

Spinach, broccoli, collard greens / silverbeet, watercress, kale, parsley, and rocket – among others – are vegetables rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, the carotenoids that protect the eye’s retina from the harmful effects of UV light. 

A landmark published in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that participants who consumed the highest amount of leafy green vegetables, like spinach and collard greens, had a 43% lower risk of developing AMD than did those who consumed the least. [10]

Plus your greens are loaded with many other nutrients too! Recent research has shown that eating vegetable nitrates, found mainly in green leafy vegetables and beetroot, could help reduce your risk of developing early-stage age-related macular degeneration (AMD). [11] 

Colourful Fruits & Vegetables

During the cold and flu season, many people turn to oranges, mandarin, grapefruit, and lemon or lime to up their vitamin C intake. But did you know these zesty citrus fruits are also great for your eye health? Their Vitamin C helps the blood vessels in your eyes stay healthy and avoid eye conditions like cataract or poor night vision.

These fruits along with other colourful  fruits such as mangoes, apricots and rockmelon, kiwi, and pawpaw  – are a great addition, for antioxidants and carotenoids. The only problem with these latter fruits, is that they are higher sugar levels, which can be an issue if you are already struggling with weight issues and diabetes.

It’s even better to look for the fruits that have these nutrients, like vitamin C, lutein and zeaxanthin while also being lower in sugar, and these include – berries (blueberries, blackberries, strawberries), as well as avocados.

Colourful Root Vegetables

Colourful fruits are not the only foods high in carotenoids and nutrients for the eyes.

Beetroot is a great vegetable for eye health and is rich in antioxidants. Beets are a fantastic source of beta-carotene, vitamin c, and nitrates. Plus, the greens of the raw beet contain lutein and zeaxanthin. 

Then we have carrots and sweet potatoes. These orange root veggies are a good source of beta-carotene. They are also a good source of the antioxidant vitamin E, and any other bright yellow or orange veggies are rich in beta-carotene too.

The more colourful your cuisine gets, the better it will be for your eye health. As an added bonus, your overall health will benefit too!

These colourful fruits and vegetables are beneficial for your gut microbiome  (bacterial profiles in the gut), but also your body converts the beta-carotene into vitamin A, and that is known to help prevent dry eyes and night blindness. Beta-carotene and vitamin A also may help reduce the risk of eye infections.

Many studies show that diets rich in pro-vitamin A precursors (carotenoids), were inversely correlated to AMD development. These vitamin A precursors, like beta-carotene (also alpha-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin etc), may be converted in the body to vitamin A. 

However, the conversion process is inefficient, highly variable from person to person, and greatly dependent on a multitude of factors, including genetics, the gut microbiome, and the other foods consumed along with the carotenoids (e.g., saturated and monounsaturated fats increase absorption).


The incredible egg is full of eye-friendly antioxidants. Eggs are an excellent source of lutein and zeaxanthin. In fact, scientists say the lutein and zeaxanthin in egg yolks are even easier for the body to absorb than from leafy vegetables. Ahem – that’s not an excuse to avoid your vegetables! Eggs are also good sources of vitamins C and E, and zinc.

Egg yolks are high in omega 3s. The amount varies depending on the feed the hens are given or if they are allowed free range to eat plants and insects. 

Eggs are a good source of ‘preformed vitamin A’. Beta-carotene from veggies can be converted to vitamin A in the body as mentioned before, however, Vitamin A found in foods that come from animals is preformed vitamin A and immediately usable by the body. Egg yolks are one source of getting your Vitamin A in the most usable way.

Nuts and Seeds

Almonds, pistachios and walnuts are some of the best nuts that are good for the eyes. Nuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E, which boost your eye health and protect the eye’s cells from oxidative damage. 

Like nuts, seeds are high in omega-3s and are a rich source of vitamin E. Seeds high in omega-3 include flaxseeds and hemp seeds.


Beans, black-eyed peas, lentils are good sources of bioflavonoids and zinc, which can lower the risk of developing cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. They also help protect the retina, which is super-critical to your vision! 

Now legumes can be a problem for some and have some ‘not-so-savvy’ aspects to them. It’s important that legumes are properly prepared to ensure they do not trigger inflammation in the body.

Beef and Poultry

Eating quality pastured beef and poultry can boost your eye health. Poultry has a significant amount of zinc. Beef is rich in vitamin A and zinc, which helps the retina, cornea, and other eye tissues to function properly, and lowers the risk of macular degeneration. You might also consider a little beef liver now and then for its rich supply of vitaminA  and B12.

When it comes to our health, the nutrients from grassfed beef, including the fats, antioxidants, and precursors to vitamins, are drastically different than grain-fed beef. Grass-fed beef usually contains several times more healthy omega-3 fats, in fact, as much as five-fold more than grain-fed beef. And the conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which has been associated with reduced body fat in humans, is approximately twice as concentrated in grass-fed beef. The total omega-6 fatty acids, which are the inflammatory ones, have been found to be higher in grain fed cattle and the longer they consume grain, the greater the omega-6 fat concentrations.  

But, if organic produce and pasture raised meats and wild-caught fish are beyond your budget, just choose these exact same foods conventionally raised. That alone, will be a thousand-fold greater for your health, for your eyes, and for preventing AMD or AMD progression, than choosing foods from packaged foods.

Bone Broths

 You might also want to consider Bone Broths – there are so many wonderful benefits!

Consuming bone broths can support your collagen and hyaluronic acid levels – and both of these are important for your eyes. Also having bone broths with meals can help the update of nutrients too!

Polyphenol Rich ‘Savvy Indulgences’

Wine, Coffee, Tea, and Chocolate! Now you don’t want to overdo these, but these ‘savvy indulgences’ are rich in eye protective polyphenols.

Ren wine contains quercetin and resveratrol, powerful antioxidants – along with other polyphenols that can protect the vessels in the eye from being damaged from the effects of ageing. 

Similarly, a mug of green or black tea can help strengthen the capillaries in the eye, allowing for better blood flow, which will increase the nutrients that reach the eyes and helps prevent high eye pressure (a precursor to glaucoma).

The WORST Foods for Your Eyes

Now let’s look at the foods that may be harming your eye health.

Polyunsaturated Vegetable Oils and Trans Fats

These supposedly healthy oils that you’ve been encouraged by health authorities to use instead of saturated fats is eye health enemy number one.

In fact, Dr. Chris Knobbe even goes as far as saying that, “I believe polyunsaturated vegetable oils  are the single greatest contributor to irreversible blindness.”

“I believe polyunsaturated vegetable oils  are the single greatest contributor to irreversible blindness.”

Dr Chris Knobbe, Opthalmologist

These so-called ‘vegetable oils’, have gradually supplanted the healthy animal fats, such as butter, lard, and beef tallow in the modern diet. In 1900, 99 percent of the added fats in cooking would have come from animal fats such as butter, lard, and beef tallow, whereas by 2005, that number had dropped to a mere 14 percent. During that time, heart disease and macular degeneration have both sky-rocketed. When you look at the evidence – it’s hard to argue that we were given the right advice by health authorities.

Margarine is still marketed as a healthy alternative to butter, but it is full of trans fats that can adversely affect your health and eyesight. Research has strongly implicated the polyunsaturated ‘vegetable oils’ as major causative factors in AMD, in at least ten studies. Polyunsaturated vegetable oils, (by the way none of these are from ‘vegetables’, they are primarily from seeds and legumes), have been shown to severely decrease the absorption of the carotenoids in the diet. These oils literally cause destruction of the carotenoids, unless significant antioxidants are present, which is often not the case. 

Instead, try using coconut, avocado, olive oil, and butter from grass-fed cows, to avoid trans fats. Plus the omega 3 found in nuts and cold-fish sources are fatty acids that help keep your retinas healthy and stop age-related eyesight deterioration.

Condiments and Dressings

 The dressings that you likely store in your refrigerator door, like mayonnaise and salad dressing, are all high in inflammatory seed oils.

Rather than using these options for flavour on your next salad, try using natural flavours, like salt and pepper, and a squeeze of fresh lemon. Add fresh herbs for flavouring too. Learn to make your own dressings from healthy, savvy oils!

White Flour and Sugar

Think about the white foods that you eat. Pasta, white bread, rice, and wraps and then add the sugar (much of which is hidden in processed foods). These foods offer almost no nutritional benefit, just simple carbohydrates that give a rush of energy that is followed by a crash. Eating lots of sugary, starchy foods may make eyes more vulnerable to age-related macular degeneration (AMD). 

Carbs high on the Glycemic Index may increase age-related Macular Degeneration. Sugary items and refined grains (such as white flour, which has the bran stripped out of it) are examples of foods that rank high on the glycemic index. Whole grains, legumes, and vegetables rank lower on the glycemic index. 

Now don’t think that ‘eating whole grain goodness’ is a lot better. Whole grains can set off a load of inflammation in the body and still means that you get your fill on nutrient depleted food. If you had skipped that slice of bread – you may have eaten more of your veggies – and that would have a lot better for your eye health! 

Avoid sugary foods as they are bad news for your eyes. The more sugar you eat, the worse your eyesight will become. Sugary drinks should also be avoided because they lead to diabetes, and that can cause diabetic retinopathy, which can then lead to blindness.

Learn to swap out these unhealthy items for healthier alternatives. Tap in with our ‘Savvy Recipe Lab’ where we aim to come up with savvy swaps for common foods you or your family might love.

Fried Foods and Processed Foods.

Many packaged and processed foods can be delicious because they have been engineered to make you crave them. The problem is that they cause serious issues down the line for your health if you consume too many, and can be seriously deleterious for your eyesight.

Polyunsaturated vegetable fats, are the types of fat that put junk food enthusiasts at higher risk for the eye disease. The foods that contain these fats are highly-processed and toxic for your eye health and include: margarine; commercially-prepared pies; cakes and cookies; peanut butter; potato chips; french fries. 

Processed lunch meats may seem convenient to purchase from the deli, however they are mostly full of chemical preservatives, bad salts and toxic fats.

For good eye health, avoid eating fries, cookies, or potato chips, and other processed foods, as they are all full of toxic fats and chemicals. Grass-fed meats, free-range poultry, wild-caught fish, fresh fruits and veggies, nut oils and grass-fed dairy products are the best way to get your healthy fats.

Instead, try using coconut, avocado, olive oil, and butter from grass-fed cows, to avoid trans fats.

What Your Eye Doctor May Not Tell You About Preventing Macular Degeneration.

Most ophthalmologists, as well as most in other medical specialties, are ‘lukewarm’ at best – about the importance of diet and nutritional supplements in the prevention of disease. [12]

They are simply not trained in nutrition, and few have the time to read the scientific literature. In addition, they are not rewarded for teaching preventive strategies to patients. Adding to that, many forward thinking doctors who recommended diets and nutritional supplements to patients – became the target of critics within the medical field. So many doctors stuck to drugs and surgery for fear of being labeled as ‘alternative medicine quacks’. 

Fortunately, scientific evidence is becoming even clearer that diet and nutritional supplements have an important part to play in protecting the eyes and many professionals are getting on board.

Until 1880, it was nearly impossible to consume a nutrient-deficient diet, assuming one had enough food and a variety of food. History is very clear that all of the chronic metabolic diseases – ‘Western diseases’, such as heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and obesity, all of which are so prevalent today – were medical rarities at the turn of the 20th century.

Historically, macular degeneration was an extreme medical rarity from 1851 until the 1930s. During that era, three of the four major nutrient-deficient processed food elements were introduced to the world. Refined white flour in 1880, polyunsaturated vegetable oils, originally by way of cottonseed oil in 1866, hydrogenated vegetable oil (margarine) in 1911.

Sugar consumption, our fourth nutrient-deficient, processed food, was on the rise too. By the 1930s, macular degeneration was on the radar of ophthalmologists. By the 1970s, AMD was at epidemic proportions in the U.S. and U.K., with many nations were following suit.

The PUFA vegetable oils, trans fats, and possibly sugar, all appear to have direct toxicities in the development of AMD and other diseases, plus they displace nutrient-dense foods, such as pasture raised meats, fish and seafood, pastured eggs, butter from pastured cows, raw milk, organically grown fruits and vegetables, and organically grown grains that are properly prepared (soaked, fermented, or sprouted).

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Perhaps even more important are the ‘sacred foods’ Dr. Weston A Price found in his studies. [13] Thes have all but been eliminated from the diet of most people unless they follow a whole food, ancestral diet. These are the foods that are particularly rich in the fat-soluble vitamins (A, D and K2 particularly), and which every healthy, traditional living society of which Price studied, somehow knew through what Price referred to as ‘accumulated wisdom’, would make for healthy babies, would prevent physical degeneration and many diseases, including infectious diseases, and in general would allow for healthy minds and bodies. These particular foods consisted of butter from cows grazing on green grass (pastured butter), whole, raw milk, organ meats such as liver, heart, kidneys, pancreas, etc., fish and other seafood, and fish eggs (roe).

Conclusion and Action Steps

For better eye health and the prevention of eye diseases – move away from the typical western diet to a more whole-food regimen, and use the hints and tips outlined here in this post to help you eat for better eye health.

Research suggests that the better your food choices, the more you’re likely to preserve your eyesight. Be sure to check out the Eat Savvy Diet.

“Every shred of evidence that I can find – supports the hypothesis that it is the ‘displacing foods of modern commerce’ that are the primary and proximate cause of AMD.” said Chris A. Knobbe, MD, ophthalmologist and Associate Clinical Professor Emeritus, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, in Dallas, Texas, as well as the Founder and President of Cure AMD Foundation. 

“Every shred of evidence that I can find, supports the hypothesis that it is the ‘displacing foods of modern commerce’ that are the primary and proximate cause of AMD.”


Having a healthy lifestyle, exercising, maintaining a healthy weight, and eating foods with all these important eye health nutrients listed above – may help keep your eyes healthy.

However, as Monica L. Monica, MD, PhD, a clinical spokeswoman for the American Academy of Ophthalmology, says “It’s hard to get the same high levels of nutrients from food alone, that you get from good quality supplements.”

“It’s hard to get the same high levels of nutrients from food alone, that you get from good quality supplements.”

Monica L. Monica, MD, PhD

We want to help you eat healthier and get the right nutrients so that your vision remains clear and focused. Since eyes are so important and nobody can be perfect with their diet all the time – we also encourage supplementation to help you optimise nutrition.

Eyes are a crucial factor in living an active, happy, and enriched life and so we would all do well to do everything we can to look after them.

Do you have questions about how to eat healthy for your eyes? Are you looking for a clear path to follow?

Reach out to us and access our Healthier Eyes Action Plan. Speak with your Savvy Team Wellness Guide, chat with us via Facebook Messenger or use our contact page.

If you’d like to try the eye health nutritional blend we suggest, it is available in many parts of the world, and we will hook you up with a $10 credit towards your first order. If you have a Savvy Team Wellness Guide already – please ask them.


Request a free ‘How Can We Help’ Discovery Session, and one of our Wellness Guides will help you uncover 3 key action areas for you to reach the next level of wellness!

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