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Nutrition is the foundation of health and development. And just as it influences our immune systems, brain development and heart health, good nutrition may help optimize our vision and reduce the risk of certain eye diseases, such as age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.

In fact, certain vitamins are essential for maintaining good eye health. Here we outline 6 specific nutrients with high antioxidant content, including how they can help maintain healthy vision, and offer some delicious, eye-friendly recipes for keeping them interesting in your employees’ daily diets. And note, while researchers link these nutrients to reducing the risk of serious, age-related eye diseases as employees grow older, they are important to their eye health no matter what their ages.

Vitamin A

The antioxidant vitamin A helps keep the surface of eyes healthy. Some foods rich in vitamin A include vegetables, like sweet potatoes, leafy greens and carrots. Animal-based foods, such as cheese, oily fish and liver, are also sources for this nutrient.  

Lutein and zeaxanthin

Among the foods highest in lutein and zeaxanthin are broccoli and green leafy legumes, such as spinach and kale, and colorful fruits and vegetables like tangerines and peas. Studies have shown them to reduce the risk for developing new cataracts4 and preventing macular degeneration.

Vitamin C 

When combined with other essential nutrients, vitamin C can protect eyes against a certain form of macular degeneration and can aid in the slowed progression of cataracts. Citrus fruits like oranges and lemons, plus berries, broccoli and tomatoes are among the foods that are high in vitamin C.  

Vitamin E

A powerful antioxidant, vitamin E can be found in nuts, fortified cereals and sweet potatoes. It protects eye cells by fighting from free radicals in the body, thereby “keeping the cells happy and healthy.”7

Omega-3 fatty acids 

Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to be important for proper visual development and retinal function, according to the American Optometric Association. Some food sources including omega-3 fatty acids are salmon, sardines, tuna, walnuts and flax and chia seeds.


A mineral said to be the “helper molecule,” zinc plays a vital role in bringing vitamin A from the liver to the retina to produce the protective pigment melanin. Some of the foods that are highest in zinc include oysters, beef chuck roast, crab, shellfish, dark meat chicken and pumpkin seeds.

Eating foods full of antioxidants like the one above can help keep our bodies healthy and maintain our vision, too.

Cincinnati, Ohio-based EyeMed Vision Care, the fastest growing vision benefits company in the U.S., is dedicated to helping members achieve clear, healthy vision by giving them easy access to a diverse and expansive network of providers across the U.S., including independent eye doctors and national/regional retail setting providers like LensCrafters®, Pearle Vision®, and Target Optical®. EyeMed’s client family is over 18,000 strong and counts more than 58 million funded benefit members.