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What vitamins should I take for my eyes?

Answers by Dr. Melanie Thares, an optometrist at Eye Associates of Central Minnesota, located in St. Cloud

What vitamins should I take to keep my eyes healthy?

Many people have heard that carrots are good for our eyes, but are there other foods or nutrients that also provide benefits to our eyes? In fact, there are many nutrients that our bodies need in order to maintain good eye health. Some of the most studied nutrients include Lutein, Zeaxanthin, and Vitamin A. Several studies have shown that a lack of these nutrients may be a causative factor for the macula and other parts of the eye deteriorating as we age. Increasing the daily intake of these nutrients may help protect our eyes from age-related macular degeneration and other eye diseases.

Some of the most studied nutrients for good eye health include Lutein, Zeaxanthin, and Vitamin A. Stock photo

Lutein and Zeaxanthin are most commonly known for reducing the risk of macular degeneration. Age-related macular degeneration is the most common cause of blindness and visual impairment in individuals over the age of 70. These two carotenoids are the main components of the macular pigment in the retina and help to filter out damaging radiation from sunlight. Both are also strong antioxidants, which protect our eyes against oxidation.

People with high macular pigment density have been shown to retain visual sensitivity at older ages. Studies have shown that macular pigment density can be increased by raising the intake of Lutein and Zeaxanthin. Individuals with higher plasma concentrations of Lutein or Zeaxanthin have been found to develop macular degeneration much less compared to those who have low concentrations. These carotenoids are found at high levels in dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, collard greens, and parsley, and are also present in orange bell peppers and egg yolks.

Vitamin A also provides benefits to our overall eye health. These benefits include promoting corneal epithelial cell health, enhancing mucin production, and maintaining optimal vision in low lighting conditions. Good corneal epithelial cell health is what allows quick and efficient wound healing in situations where the eye has suffered trauma. This occurs due to improved production of hyaluronic acid by vitamin A. Hyaluronic acid enhances the adhesion, extension, and migration of cells which help to heal a corneal wound. In addition to the epithelial layer, Vitamin A is also found in the mucous layer of the tear film. This layer functions to bind the rest of the tear film to the ocular surface, which results in uniformity and stabilization of the tear film. A reduction in mucus can lead to tear film destabilization, which can result in the breakdown of the cornea and conjunctival epithelial layers, leading to dry eyes. Vitamin A also plays an important role in vision, particularly in low lighting conditions.

Rhodopsin is a pigment molecule that is synthesized from Vitamin A, which contributes to the eye’s ability to see the full spectrum of light. A deficiency in Vitamin A reduces the production of rhodopsin which can lead to night blindness. 

In conclusion, several nutrients have shown to increase the overall health of our eyes. Lutein, Zeaxanthin, and Vitamin A are a few of these nutrients that have been studied and shown to have several benefits to maintaining optional eye health and vision. The best way to assess which eye nutrients would best benefit you and your eyes are annual eye exams with dilation.

Find out more

Dr. Mitchell Gossman is a comprehensive ophthalmologist, along with Dr. Melanie Thares, an optometrist, at Eye Associates of Central Minnesota. The office is located at 628 Roosevelt Road, Suite 101, in St. Cloud. To make an appointment or to learn more, call 320-774-3789 or email

“Ask the Expert” is sponsored content (paid advertising) provided by Eye Associates of Central Minnesota. To learn how your business can promote its products and services like this, contact Sr. Perspective at 320-334-3344.

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