Over the last couple of years, there has been an explosion of discourse and availability of information towards being healthy physically, mentally and emotionally. One such topic of conversation has been regarding making a conscious effort to eat and serve healthier food not only for our overall health, but for climate sustainability. Examples of this can be seen across the food industry, such as products like “Beyond Meat” becoming a popular alternative to enjoy and Starbucks aiming to replace the plastic straws currently in their line-up with eco-friendly biodegradable ones. With all these initiatives and progress made to encourage healthier eating, one part of the body may not be talked about enough, and that’s the eyes.

Our eyes are an essential part of our body and are also prone to diseases just as any other major organ we possess. Such diseases can include Cataracts, Glaucoma, Diabetic Retinopathy among many others which can severely affect eye sight temporarily or even permanently. According to the CDC, approximately 12 million people in the United States suffer with some level of vision impairment and 1 billion worldwide. This is a lingering issue that isn't being addressed enough and should be critically attended to going forward.   

Luckily, there are many healthy foods that we can indulge in that can aid in sustaining our eyesight as well as maintaining our overall physical and mental wellbeing. Below is a list of foods that help strengthen our eyes and keep diseases away.


egg, chicken
Jocelyn Hsu

A personal favorite of mine, eggs are filled with vitamins and nutrients that are beneficial to us. They provide Vitamin A which helps to reduce the risks of cataracts, infections and macular degeneration. Eggs are also rich in Zinc which strengthens the retina of our eyes and helps improve sight in dark areas. The egg yolk itself has enough nutrients to combat macular degeneration and combined with other healthy foods, can lead to weight loss.

Green Vegetables 

spinach, salad, vegetable, lettuce, Green, sink, Kitchen
Julia Gilman

One category of food that is known to be good for eye health is dark green, leafy vegetables. These can include kale, spinach and Swiss chard. These vegetables contain organic compounds called lutein and zeaxanthin, which function as antioxidants that protect the eyes from damage caused by free radicals. A diet containing foods rich with lutein and zeaxanthin can lower the risk of developing macular degeneration. This can be crucial for Americans, as this is the number one cause of irreversible and severe loss of eyesight with over 11 million people suffering from it.

Raw Bell Peppers

pepper, vegetable, chili, cayenne, sweet pepper, red pepper
Torey Walsh

Bell peppers might just be one of the most underappreciated foods out there. They are an extremely great source of both Vitamin A and C that, like eggs, reduce the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts. Bell peppers also provide lutein and zeaxanthin that protect the retina from oxidative damage. While bell peppers help aid in protecting vision over time, they also diminish the risk of a wide variety of chronic diseases such as hypertension, heart disease and much more.

 Citrus Fruits

juice, grapefruit, citrus, blood orange, sweet, lemon
Jocelyn Hsu

Arguably the tastiest group of foods on this list, citrus fruits are also an essential food for strengthening your eyes and preventing eye disease. Fruits such as oranges, grapefruits and lemons are high in Vitamin C, which can repair eye damage caused by the sun’s UV rays. It also contributes to healthy blood vessels within the eye and helps by repairing and growing new tissue cells in the eye’s interior. Who doesn’t want to have tasty fruit and help protect their eyes at the same time?

Sweet Potatoes

sweet, pumpkin
Jocelyn Hsu

Sweet potatoes are excellent for your eyes. Similarly to carrots, sweet potatoes are high in beta carotene. Beta carotene is a type of substance called a carotenoid that gives sweet potatoes and carrots their reddish-orange color. Beta carotene serves as a precursor to vitamin A, which has been ever-present in this article so far. It can be converted into vitamin A depending on the body's current needs. Vitamin A is a component of rhodopsin, which is a protein in your eyes that allows you to see in areas with low amounts of light. 


strawberry, berry, sweet, pasture
Becky Hughes

Another fruit on this list, strawberries, are packed with an essential nutrient needed for our eyes. They’re rich in a multitude of different antioxidants that help keep you healthy by slowing down the process of oxidation, which is responsible for aging and cell death. Oxidation can lead to cataracts by causing changes to fats and proteins in the eye’s lens, which makes the lens cloudy and impairs vision. Antioxidants can prevent or delay age-related macular degeneration. Strawberries are also rich in Vitamin C anthocyanins, another antioxidant that is responsible for their beautiful red color. Anthocyanins help reduce levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol and raise “good” HDL cholesterol, which is crucial for the health of the arteries pumping blood within your body.

Your eyes are reliant on tiny arteries and a healthy blood flow for a constant supply of blood, oxygen, and nutrients. Thus, anything that helps keep your heart and its larger arteries healthy will inevitably help the health of your eyes!   

This article was written in collaboration with members of the St. John's University Pre-Optometry Club, and the above information was provided by Daipaul Brown, Claudia Chojnowski, Lucille Hindley, Ann Maria John, Christine Lu and Phoebe Miller.