How to have healthy eyes

We’re all familiar with the old adage that carrots can help you to see in the dark, but have you ever wondered whether it was actually true?

AXA PPP healthcare physiologist Anthony Glock gives us the lowdown on which nutrients we should be eating to ensure we are doing the best by our eyes.

There are in fact a whole range of foods that contain some of the essential nutrients needed for maintaining healthy eyesight and even though some factors such as age and genetics play their part, ensuring we get the right nutrients through our diet is one way we can help to minimise the chances of developing problems.

Free Radicals

Free radicals are released when the body uses oxygen to produce energy. Although free radicals have the potential to damage our cells our body is well able to cope with them but only if we are consuming a healthy balanced diet. If our body lacks the right nutrients, then it will be unable to absorb vitamins and minerals the way it should. This could result in premature ageing and our eyes, along with other parts of our body, will suffer.

Free radicals have the potential to damage both the retina and lens which may lead to impaired eyesight. Our eyes need a high amount of antioxidant protection compared with other parts of the body as the eye has a high metabolic rate and so will be producing more harmful free radicals.  Therefore, eating a wide range of different fruits and vegetables will give our bodies the best chance to help reduce the damage done to the retina and lens in our eyes.

Anthony tells us that a varied, healthy balanced diet will not only keep our eyes healthy but will also help with our overall health and wellbeing.

Which foods should we be eating for our eye health in particular?

Vitamins C & E

C & E vitamins are antioxidants, crucial in protecting our bodies from free radicals as well as external toxins such as air pollution and cigarette smoke.  Vitamins C & E work by absorbing potential damage directly in the eyes and so helping to prevent harm.

Foods high in vitamin C include:

  • oranges
  • red and green peppers
  • strawberries
  • broccoli
  • blackcurrants

Foods high in vitamin E include:

  • olive oil
  • nuts
  • seeds
  • cereal products

Vitamin A

Carrots are high in beta carotene, it is what makes them orange, and beta carotene is what is used to form Vitamin A in our bodies. Vitamin A helps our vision in low light, hence the reason why carrots are known for being good for eyes!

Foods that are high in beta carotene are usually orange or yellow in colour, such as:

  • carrots
  • pumpkins
  • peppers
  • sweet potato


We need zinc to ensure our retinas are working to their best as zinc is able to preserve the cell membrane and proteins in the retina so affecting its structure and function.  Zinc is also good as an antioxidant and good for a healthy immune system.

Foods high in zinc are:

  • eggs
  • whole grains
  • peanuts
  • turkey
  • oysters
  • crab
  • other meats

Omega 3

Omega 3 has long been heralded for helping to keep our heart and brain healthy but it can also help to protect our eyes.  Omega 3 works by combating inflammation and helping cells to function properly.

High amounts of Omega 3 can be found in:

  • Salmon
  • Sardines
  • Herring
  • tuna and other tinned fish to a lesser extent

Lutein & Zeaxanthin

It has been shown through scientific studies that individuals with low lutein and zeaxanthin in their diets have a higher risk of developing age-related macular degeneration.

Lutein and Zeaxanthin are carotenoids which work in the same way as vitamins C and E. They are antioxidants which protect our eyes from any harm, in particular, damage from blue light which is emitted from computer screens, mobile phones and tablets.

Lutein and Zeaxanthin are often better absorbed by the body when cooked. Foods to choose are:

  • Kale
  • Eggs
  • Spinach
  • red pepper
  • broccoli
  • leek
  • green peas
  • kiwi fruit

Along with eating a healthy diet, it is crucial to go for regular eye checks as any problems could be detected at an early stage.

All content on is provided for general information only, and should not be treated at all as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. Silversurfers will not be responsible or liable for any diagnosis made by a user based on the content on and we are also not liable for the content of any external websites or links from or to Silversurfers to any other websites. Please always consult your own doctor if you’re in any way concerned about any aspect of your health.
The following two tabs change content below.

AXA Health

The more you know about your body and how you can look after it, the healthier you are – and the stronger and bolder you become. That’s why we never stop looking for ways to support your health. We want to give you the tools and knowledge you need to take care of yourself – so you’re ready to face whatever the world brings.

Latest posts by AXA Health (see all)

Leave a Comment!

Not a member?

You need to be a member to interact with Silversurfers. Joining is free and simple to do. Click the button below to join today!

Click here if you have forgotten your password

Community Terms & Conditions

Content standards

These content standards apply to any and all material which you contribute to our site (contributions), and to any interactive services associated with it.

You must comply with the spirit of the following standards as well as the letter. The standards apply to each part of any contribution as well as to its whole.

Contributions must:

be accurate (where they state facts); be genuinely held (where they state opinions); and comply with applicable law in the UK and in any country from which they are posted.

Contributions must not:

contain any material which is defamatory of any person; or contain any material which is obscene, offensive, hateful or inflammatory; or promote sexually explicit material; or promote violence; promote discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age; or infringe any copyright, database right or trade mark of any other person; or be likely to deceive any person; or be made in breach of any legal duty owed to a third party, such as a contractual duty or a duty of confidence; or promote any illegal activity; or be threatening, abuse or invade another’s privacy, or cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety; or be likely to harass, upset, embarrass, alarm or annoy any other person; or be used to impersonate any person, or to misrepresent your identity or affiliation with any person; or give the impression that they emanate from us, if this is not the case; or advocate, promote or assist any unlawful act such as (by way of example only) copyright infringement or computer misuse.

Nurturing a safe environment

Our Silversurfers community is designed to foster friendships, based on trust, honesty, integrity and loyalty and is underpinned by these values.

We don't tolerate swearing, and reserve the right to remove any posts which we feel may offend others... let's keep it friendly!