Jenny Fant

mbg Health Contributor

By Jenny Fant

mbg Health Contributor

Jenny is a San Francisco-based mbg contributor, content designer, and climate & sustainability communications specialist. She is a graduate of the University of California Santa Barbara. An avid open-water swimmer, Jenny has worked for healthy living and nutrition brands like Sun Basket, Gather Around Nutrition, and Territory Foods.

Image by Igor Madjinca / Stocksy

June 16, 2023

Despite app timers and digital detoxes, reducing screen time is an uphill battle for most of us—and our eyes are suffering because of it. The good news is that new research reinforces the fact that eating certain foods can enhance vision and help our eyes recover from all the strain we put them through daily.


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What the research found

In a literature review published in the journal Exercise and Sport Science Review, researchers look at the science of how diet impacts athletes’ vision and subsequent performance. They homed in on two antioxidants—lutein and zeaxanthin—and their strengthening effect on visual-motor performance.

They concluded that strong data exists to show that these nutrients can improve vision in three key ways:

  1. Improve chromatic contrast: They decrease how blurry things appear to our eyes, especially when they’re far away.
  2. Decrease glare discomfort: They cut down on the feeling we get when our surroundings are too bright, making it difficult for our eyes to focus and concentrate.
  3. Speed up recovery from photostress: Photostress is stress put on our eyes when we face bright light sources like the sun or screens (psst…you may be experiencing it right now).


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These eye-healthy antioxidants are both types of carotenoids, and they give many healthy foods their bright hues. Foods high in lutein and zeaxanthin include leafy greens like kale and spinach, green peas, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and romaine lettuce.

While carrots have long been touted for their helpful effects on vision, this is an important reminder that greener superfoods are also great for eye health. And because these foods offer a wide array of other health benefits, you can feel really good about adding more of them to your plate.

A strategy for sore eyes

Ready to prioritize your vision and eye health this summer? Here’s a strategy to make sure you’re setting yourself up for success.

Go for greens: If you’re not getting one or two types of the aforementioned greens in every single day, consider this an order from your eyes. If salads just aren’t your thing, whip up one of these easy, delicious green smoothies to hide that earthy flavor while delivering all the benefits. 

Supplement for sight: While diet is often the best way to incorporate these health-supportive micronutrients, supplements can help deliver more targeted results for eye health. Consider these expert-recommended options designed specifically with vision in mind. Bonus points for supplements that contain lutein and zeaxanthin.

Get your eyes checked regularly: If you have trouble with blurry vision or notice that your eyes don’t handle bright light like they used to, it’s never a bad idea to schedule a routine eye exam.


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The takeaway

A new scientific review supports the fact that athletes—and all of us—can protect our eyes and improve our vision with key antioxidants found in food and supplements. Prioritizing lutein and zeaxanthin in a balanced diet remains one of the best ways to get you seeing a bit more clearly.