Vitamin D: Does Your Eyesight Good

As you age, vitamin D can help your eyes stay healthy and strong.

People with early AMD are associated with lower levels of vitamin D in their blood.

Source: American Optometric Association, “Fact Sheet on Nutritional Supplementation for Age-Related Macular Degeneration,” 2010.

“Drink your milk, so you can grow up big and strong.” As kids, many of us probably heard that from our parents. But as adults, milk and other foods high in vitamin D can play an important role in keeping our eyesight healthy and strong as we age.

Among older Americans, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of vision loss, with more than 25 million people worldwide suffering from it.1 AMD occurs when part of the retina deteriorates. Because AMD affects the central portion of vision, it impacts daily activities like driving, reading and doing close work.2 People with early AMD are associated with lower levels of vitamin D in their blood.3 Including vitamin D in your lifestyle can help keep you from being a part of this affected group.

While there’s no substitute for vitamin D obtained through sunlight, you can get vitamin D through a variety of foods including milk, cold-water fish such as red sockeye salmon, sardines or cod liver oil and other foods containing essential fatty acids, as well as nutritional supplements.4 Omega-3 is the most well-known essential fatty acid, which can be found in these foods:5

  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Mackerel
  • Anchovy
  • Trout
  • Halibut
  • Snapper
  • Scallops
  • Walnuts
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Brazil nuts
  • Sesame seeds
  • Avocado
  • Spinach
  • Collard greens
  • Dark leafy vegetables
  • Nutritional supplements

Be sure to include at least some of the foods listed here in your daily diet. Keeping your eyes and the rest of your body healthy through good nutrition isn’t good just for kids. It’s good for grown-ups, too.

  1. American Optometric Association, “Diet, Nutrition and Eye Health,” 2009.
  2. Archives of Ophthalmology, “Between Vitamin D and Age-Related Macular Degeneration in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey,” 1988 Through 1994, May 2007.
  3. American Optometric Association, “Fact Sheet on Nutritional Supplementation for Age-Related Macular Degeneration,” 2010.
  4. National Osteoporosis Foundation, “Prevention,” 2008.
  5. University of Maryland Medical Center, “Omega-3 Fatty Acids,” 2007.