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Nutrition for Healthy Eyes: Eye Benefits of Vitamins and Micronutrients

Research suggests that antioxidants and other important nutrients may reduce your risk of cataracts and macular degeneration. Specific antioxidants can have additional benefits as well; for example, vitamin A protects against blindness, and vitamin C may play a role in preventing or alleviating glaucoma.

Omega-3 essential fatty acids appear to help the eye in a variety of ways, from alleviating symptoms of dry eye syndrome to guarding against macular damage.

Nutrition for Healthy Eyes

A healthy diet for your eyes should include plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables.
A healthy diet for your eyes should include plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables.

The following vitamins, minerals and other nutrients have been shown to be essential for good vision and may protect your eyes from sight-robbing conditions and diseases.

Incorporating the following foods in your diet will help you get the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of these important eye nutrients. Established by the Institute of Medicine (National Academy of Sciences), the RDA is the average daily dietary intake level of a nutrient sufficient to meet the requirements of nearly all healthy individuals in a specific life stage and gender group.

While the RDA is a useful reference, some eye care practitioners recommend higher daily intakes of certain nutrients for people at risk for eye problems.

(In the following list, mg = milligram; mcg = microgram (1/1000 of a mg) and IU = International Unit.)


  • Eye benefits of beta-carotene: When taken in combination with zinc and vitamins C and E, beta-carotene may reduce the progression of macular degeneration.
  • Food sources: Carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale, butternut squash.
  • RDA: None (most supplements contain 5,000 to 25,000 IU).

Bioflavonoids (Flavonoids)

  • Eye benefits of bioflavonoids: May protect against cataracts and macular degeneration.
  • Food sources: Tea, red wine, citrus fruits, bilberries, blueberries, cherries, legumes, soy products.
  • RDA: None.

Lutein and Zeaxanthin

  • Eye benefits of lutein and zeaxanthin: May prevent cataracts and macular degeneration.
  • Food sources: Spinach, kale, turnip greens, collard greens, squash.
  • RDA: None.

Eye chart infographic showing nutrients necessary for good eye health as you age. Provided by Bausch + Lomb.
This infographic shows which nutrients you need for good eye health as you age. Please click here for the full image. (Image: Bausch + Lomb)

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

  • Eye benefits of omega-3 fatty acids: May help prevent macular degeneration (AMD) and dry eyes.
  • Food sources: Cold-water fish such as salmon, mackerel and herring; fish oil supplements, freshly ground flaxseeds, walnuts.
  • RDA: None; but for cardiovascular benefits, the American Heart Association recommends approximately 1,000 mg daily.


  • Eye benefits of selenium: When combined with carotenoids and vitamins C and E, may reduce risk of advanced AMD.
  • Food sources: Seafood (shrimp, crab, salmon, halibut), Brazil nuts, enriched noodles, brown rice.
  • RDA: 55 mcg for teens and adults (60 mcg for women during pregnancy and 70 mcg when breast-feeding).

Vitamin A

  • Eye benefits of vitamin A: May protect against night blindness and dry eyes.
  • Food sources: Beef or chicken liver; eggs, butter, milk.
  • RDA: 3,000 IU for men; 2,333 IU for women (2,567 IU during pregnancy and 4,333 IU when breast-feeding).

Vitamin C

  • Eye benefits of vitamin C: May reduce the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration.
  • Food sources: Sweet peppers (red or green), kale, strawberries, broccoli, oranges, cantaloupe.
  • RDA: 90 mg for men; 70 mg for women (85 mg during pregnancy and 120 mg when breast-feeding).

Vitamin D

  • Eye benefits of vitamin D: May reduce the risk of macular degeneration.
  • Food sources: Salmon, sardines, mackerel, milk; orange juice fortified with vitamin D.
  • RDA: None, but the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends 400 IU per day for infants, children and adolescents, and many experts recommend higher daily intakes for adults.
  • The best source of vitamin D is exposure to sunlight. Ultraviolet radiation from the sun stimulates production of vitamin D in human skin, and just a few minutes of exposure to sunlight each day (without sunscreen) will insure your body is producing adequate amounts of vitamin D.

Vitamin E

  • Eye benefits of vitamin E: When combined with carotenoids and vitamin C, may reduce the risk of advanced AMD.
  • Food sources: Almonds, sunflower seeds, hazelnuts.
  • RDA: 15 mg for teens and adults (15 mg for women during pregnancy and 19 mg when breast-feeding).


  • Eye benefits of zinc: Helps vitamin A reduce the risk of night blindness; may play a role in reducing risk of advanced AMD.
  • Food sources: Oysters, beef, Dungeness crab, turkey (dark meat).
  • RDA: 11 mg for men; 8 mg for women (11 mg during pregnancy and 12 mg when breast-feeding).

In general, it’s best to obtain most nutrients through a healthy diet, including at least two servings of fish per week and plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables.

If you plan to begin a regimen of eye vitamins, be sure to discuss this with your optometrist orophthalmologist. Taking too much of certain vision supplements can cause problems, especially if you are taking prescription medications for health problems.

Eyes: 15 Things Didn’t Know About Them

On the face of it, our eyes are just simple orbs in our head, but the fact is that they’re very complex organs. There are seven main parts in the eye that play a role in transmitting information to the brain, detecting light, and focusing. A problem with any of these parts means a problem with your vision.

Our eyes are very complicated and amazing. They seem pretty simple, but there’s really a lot to know about how they function.

You’ve had your peepers since you were born, so you may think you know them pretty well, but here are some fun facts you may not know about eyes:

  1. The average blink lasts for about 1/10th of a second.
  2. While it takes some time for most parts of your body to warm up to their full potential, your eyes are on their “A game” 24/7.
  3. Eyes heal quickly. With proper care, it only takes about 48 hours for the eye to repair a corneal scratch.
  4. Seeing is such a big part of everyday life that it requires about half of the brain to get involved.
  5. Newborns don’t produce tears. They make crying sounds, but the tears don’t start flowing until they are about 4-13 weeks old.
  6. Around the world, about 39 million people are blind and roughly 6 times that many have some kind of vision impairment.
  7. Doctors have yet to find a way to transplant an eyeball. The optic nerve that connects the eye to the brain is too sensitive to reconstruct successfully.
  8. The cells in your eye come in different shapes. Rod-shaped cells allow you to see shapes, and cone-shaped cells allow you to see color.
  9. You blink about 12 times every minute.
  10. Your eyes are about 1 inch across and weigh about 0.25 ounce.
  11. Some people are born with two differently colored eyes. This condition is heterochromia.
  12. Even if no one in the past few generations of your family had blue or green eyes, these recessive traits can still appear in later generations.
  13. Each of your eyes has a small blind spot in the back of the retina where the optic nerve attaches. You don’t notice the hole in your vision because your eyes work together to fill in each other’s blind spot.
  14. Out of all the muscles in your body, the muscles that control your eyes are the most active.
  15. 80% of vision problems worldwide are avoidable or even curable.

Who knew your eyes could be so amazing and complex? Make sure to give them the attention they deserve by seeing an professional at Moreland Eye Care for a comprehensive eye exam every year.

10 Tips for Healthy Aging Eyes

by Beth W. Orenstein


As we grow older, we experience weaker vision. In addition, our risk for vision problems that can affect our lifestyle and independence increases.

Vision problems such as glaucoma, cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy are common among older adults. You can’t prevent your eyes from aging, but you can slow age-related damage by taking care of your eye health.

10 Tips for Preserving Eye Health

The following tips can help you take care of your eyes and preserve clear vision:

1. Get regular eye exams. Starting at age 40, get annual eye exams and have your eye doctor look for signs of glaucoma and retinal damage, even if you’re a healthy adult with no vision problems. People who have certain medical conditions that increase the risk of eye disorders, such as diabetes, or those who have vision problems should see an eye care professional earlier than 40. Depending on your risk factors and the initial findings of your exam, ask your eye doctor to recommend the appropriate screening intervals that will help maintain clear vision.

2. Wear shades. The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can damage aging eyes just as they can damage skin, says Richard G. Shugarman, MD, an ophthalmologist in private practice in West Palm Beach, Fla., and a volunteer professor of ophthalmology at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute at the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine. UV rays can cause cataracts and possibly accelerate macular degeneration. The best way to protect eyes from the sun is with sunglasses that have UV filters. “Sunglasses should be large and wrap around a little, although if you need a prescription you can’t have too much wraparound without distorting the images,” says Dr. Shugarman. Lenses of any color will do as long as they have UV filters.

3. Don a hat. Wear a wide-brimmed hat when you’re outdoors for any length of time. Sunglasses help, but a hat will give you extra protection. “If you’re gardening or playing golf or a round of tennis, you want to keep the sunlight off your face and eyes, and protect your skin from melanomas,” says Shugarman. The eyelid is a common spot for a melanoma to develop.

4. Enjoy the fruits of the garden. Choose a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. While definitive evidence is lacking, some studies suggest that sufficient intake of the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin may help lower the risk of eye conditions that can accompany aging, such as cataracts and macular degeneration, Shugarman says. Lutein and zeaxanthin are found in fruits and vegetables with yellow and orange pigments, such as corn, squash, carrots, and citrus fruits. They are also found in dark green leafy vegetables, like kale and spinach.

5. Take a multivitamin. Vitamins A (beta-carotene), C, and E and the mineral zinc have been shown to promote eye health. “Fifty years ago, doctors were convinced that if people ate a normal, balanced diet, they didn’t need supplements,” Shugarman says. “But today’s soil is not as rich in nutrients as it used to be, and some of it is over-farmed. We’re getting shortchanged even when we try to eat properly.” When choosing a multivitamin, be sure to get one that meets all the requirements for your age and stage of life.

6. Stop smoking. Smoking can promote eye diseases because it reduces blood flow to the eyes and can increase the amount of toxic substances (like tar and nicotine) your eyes absorb. If you’re at risk for diabetic retinopathy or macular degeneration, exposure to toxic substances in cigarettes can elevate that risk.

7. Shed some light. While you won’t permanently hurt your eyes by reading or working in a dimly lit area, you can cause temporary eyestrain, which can lead to headaches and fatigue. Protect your eyes by making sure your workspace is brightly lit.

8. Take a break. Another way to prevent eyestrain is to take frequent breaks from the computer screen or reading materials. About every 10 minutes, look up or away for 10 seconds, so your eyes get a rest. If you’re watching television, give your eyes a break and look away every half hour or so.

9. Get sufficient sleep. Being overtired can increase eyestrain. If you get enough sleep, your eyes will be refreshed along with the rest of your body.

10. Don’t ignore warning signs. Eye doctors can treat many potentially serious vision problems if they are caught early enough. See your doctor if you experience blurred or double vision, if your vision appears cloudy, or if you have eye pain or are bothered by the glare of lights. All are signs that you could be developing vision problems that can be treated by your eye doctor.

You can’t stop time, but you can take care of your eyes so that they remain healthy as you age. Having clear vision is possible at any age.

Top 10 Signs Your Child Needs Vision Correction

If your child is struggling at school, an undetected vision problem may be to blame. A child who is unable to see the blackboard clearly or has a hard time focusing on the work at his desk will soon become frustrated. Many children’s vision problems go undetected during school vision screenings, so parents and teachers should watch for the following signs that may signal vision problems. If you notice any of these signs in your child, schedule an appointment for a full eye exam with your local eye doctor. The doctor may determine that your child is nearsighted or farsighted, vision problems that are easily corrected.

1. Squinting

Squinting is much like looking through a pinhole. Peeking through a small opening reduces the size of the blurred image on the back of the retina. This temporarily improves vision and could be a sign of your child compensating for poor vision.

2. Tilting the head

Tilting the head can be a sign of an eye muscle imbalance or strabismus. A child may have double vision when looking down or in a certain direction. Tilting the head may minimize the double vision to a more manageable level.

3. Sitting too close to the television

Sitting very close to the television or lowering the head while reading is often a sign ofnearsightedness. Nearsighted people generally have clear vision at a close range and poor vision at a distance. Moving closer to an object brings the object to their clear focal point and makes the image larger.

4. Losing place while reading

Skipping lines or losing your place while reading can be a sign of a vision problem. Often,astigmatism or an eye muscle problem such as strabismus is to blame.

5. Covering one eye to read or watch television

A child who covers one eye to read is simply shutting the eye with the poorer vision off so that it does not interfere with their vision. An uncorrected vision problem in one eye can increase a child’s risk of developing amblyopia. Covering one eye can also be a sign of double vision caused by strabismus or a more serious medical problem, such as a cataract.

6. Excessive tearing

Children often have lag ophthalmus, a condition which causes the eyes to dry out at night because the eyelids do not completely close while sleeping. This can cause excessive tearing during the day that interferes with good vision.

7. Rubbing eyes

Rubbing the eyes is a sign of eye fatigue and can be a sign of all types of vision problems. Medical conditions such as allergic conjunctivitis can also cause vision problems.

8. Finger pointing while reading

Finger pointing while reading is not always a bad sign. It is often seen in a child learning to read independently. However, it can be sign of an uncorrected vision problem such as amblyopia. Amblyopic eyes exhibit a ‘crowding’ phenomenon. When letters or words appear very close to other letters or words, it makes them difficult to recognize.

9. Light sensitivity

Children with exotropia, a type of strabismus, occasionally squint one eye when exposed to bright sunlight. This may be interpreted as light sensitivity.

10. Frequent headaches

Uncorrected farsighted children often have frontal headaches or brow aches. This is a result of the child attempting to compensate by exerting extra effort to clear their blurry vision.

Schedule a Pediatric Eye Exam

Moreland Eye Care Pediatric Eye Exam

Moreland Eye Care Pediatric Eye ExamAt Moreland Eyecare in Anna, Illinois, we are proud to offer pediatric eye care services. We believe in the importance of your child’s eye health, and early eye exams are recommended.

When should you schedule your child’s first eye exam?

As a parent, you may wonder whether your preschooler has a vision problem or when you should schedule your child’s first eye exam.

Eye exams for children are extremely important, because 5 to 10 percent of preschoolers and 25 percent of school-aged children have vision problems. Early identification of a child’s vision problem can be crucial because children often are more responsive to treatment when problems are diagnosed early.

According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), infants should have their first comprehensive eye exam at 6 months of age. Children then should have additional eye exams at age 3, and just before they enter the first grade — at about age 5 or 6.

For school-aged children, the AOA recommends an eye exam every two years if no vision correction is required. Children who need eyeglasses or contact lenses should be examined annually or as recommended by their optometrist or ophthalmologist.

Early eye exams also are important because children need the following basic skills related to good eyesight for learning:

  •     Near vision
  •     Distance vision
  •     Binocular (two eyes) coordination
  •     Eye movement skills
  •     Focusing skills
  •     Peripheral awareness
  •     Hand-eye coordination

For these reasons, some states require a mandatory eye exam for all children entering school for the first time.

Their First Eye Exam

The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) says on its website that your family doctor or pediatrician likely will be the first medical professional to examine your child’s eyes.

If eye problems are suspected during routine physical examinations, a referral might be made to an eye doctor for further evaluation. Eye doctors have specific equipment and training to assist them with spotting potential vision problems.

When scheduling an eye exam for your child, choose a time when he or she usually is alert and happy.

Specifics of how eye exams are conducted depend on your child’s age, but generally the exams will include a case history, vision testing, determination of whether eyeglasses are needed, testing of eye alignment, an eye health evaluation and, if needed, prescription of eyewear.

After you have made the appointment, you may be sent a case history form by mail. Some eye care practices even have forms on their website that you can download and print at home, before your visit. Or you may not receive a form until you check in at the doctor’s office.

The case history form will ask about your child’s birth history (also called perinatal history), including birth weight and whether or not the child was full-term.

Your eye doctor also may ask whether complications occurred during the pregnancy or delivery. Other questions will concern your child’s medical history, including current medications and past or present allergies.

Be sure to tell your eye doctor if your child has or displays any of the following:

  • A history of prematurity
  • Delayed motor development
  • Frequent eye rubbing
  • Excessive blinking
  • Failure to maintain eye contact
  • Inability to maintain a gaze (fixation) while looking at objects
  • Poor eye tracking skills

Also, be sure to mention if your child has failed a vision screening at school or during a visit to his or her pediatrician.

Your eye doctor also will want to know about previous eye problems and treatments your child has had, such as surgeries and glasses or contact lens wear.

And be sure to inform your eye doctor about any family history of eye problems requiring vision correction, such as nearsightedness or farsightedness (refractive errors), lazy eye (strabismus/amblyopia) or eye diseases.

Read more, “Eye Exams for Children”, posted by All About Vision

CONTACT US at Moreland Eyecare in Anna to schedule your child’s eye examination today!


Moreland EyeCare
100 Peach Ridge Road
Anna, IL  62906
Phone: (618) 833-9208

Emergency Contact
(618) 521-9679


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