The magical, mysterious molecule that improves your vision … and how you can harness it

preparing a salad

Antioxidants are like air. We can’t see them or taste them. But they’re almost always around us. And if there’s a shortage, our bodies are adversely affected. These magical, mysterious molecules enhance our quality of life.

Nutritionists encourage us to eat food chock-full of antioxidants—leafy greens, legumes, nuts and cold-water fish—to reduce our risk of cancer and heart disease. Now, there’s another clear reason to add more antioxidants to your diet: better eye health.1

How much is your diet helping your eye health? See the 6 nutrients below linked to better vision and reduced risk for eye disease:

Lutein and Zeaxanthin–Found in green leafy vegetables and eggs, studies have shown these nutrients reduce the risk of chronic eye diseases like age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.
Vitamin C–Stock up on vitamin C by eating fruits and vegetables. Studies suggest it lowers the risk of cataracts, and when taken in combination with other essential nutrients, it can protect your eyes against macular degeneration and loss of visual acuity.
Vitamin E–A powerful antioxidant found in nuts, fortified cereals and sweet potatoes, it protects eye cells from free radicals (negatively charged molecules said to be linked to several degenerative diseases and cancers).
Essential Fatty Acids–Omega-3 fatty acids, which are high in EPA/DHA, have been shown to be important for proper visual development and retinal function.
Zinc–The mineral said to be the “helper molecule,” it plays a vital role in bringing vitamin A from the liver to the retina in order to produce the protective pigment melanin.

A combination of a healthy, antioxidant-filled diet and annual visits to your eye doctor can help preserve your eye health and vision. So the next time you’re out grocery shopping or sitting down to a meal, make sure you’re choosing food that look out for your eyes, too.

1. “Diet, Nutrition and Eye Health,” American Optometric Association,