Who wasn't told as a child to eat their carrots for healthy eyes?  Of the myriad half truths adults tell kids this one actually is true.  Carrots have beta-carotene in them, which is  a necessary nutrient for our eyes to function properly.  Here's a list of essential nutrients for healthy eyes and vision and the part of the eye they help:

BETA-CAROTENE (THE PRECURSOR TO VITAMIN A)

Carrots aren't the only food you can find this nutrient in.  You can also find beta-carotene in sweet potatoes, canteloupes, apricots, spinach, and kale. This helps with the cornea, the front surface of the eye, so it is very important for good vision.  It also helps with dry eyes.  In combination with other nutrients, it has been known to decrease the risk of age-related macular degeneration.

VITAMIN C

This nutrient is helpful in reducing the risk of age-related macular degeneration and progression of cataracts.  Vitamin C can be found in citrus fruit, berries, spinach, and leafy green vegetables.

VITAMIN E

Another nutrient that is important for a healthy retina is vitamin E.  Along with the previous nutrients, this will also reduce the risk of macular degeneration.  It can be found in avocado, nuts, and spinach.

RIBOFLAVINS (VITAMIN B2)

Vitamin B2 is an antioxidant which helps against damaging free radicals all over the body, which is also true in the eyes.  Studies have shown that increased consumption of this nutrient can reduce the development of cataracts.  Some sources of riboflavin are eggs, almonds, and spinach.

LUTEIN

Lutein is an antioxidant, but addiotionally has anti-inflammatory properties.  This has been known to help with many chronic conditions, such as cardiovascular disease.  It is also essential in protecting the retina and the lens from phototoxic light damage. Research has found that this can help prevent or even improve cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.  Foods green and yellow in color are the best source of lutein.  It can be found in corn, bell peppers, spinach, and kale.

ZINC

Zinc is found in high concentrations in the eye.  It is important in the production of melanin in the eye which is the protective pigmentation.  This nutrient helps with reducing the risk of age-related macular degeneration.  Zinc deficiency has also been linked to poor night vision.  It can be found in legumes, seeds, and nuts.

DHA (A TYPE OF OMEGA-3 FATTY ACID)

Omega-3 fatty acids have many health benefits, especially improving cardiovascular health.  DHA, a type of omega-3 fatty acid is helpful for dry eyes.  This can be found in salmon, oysters, and shrimp. 

These nutrients can all be found in supplement form, however if you have a balanced diet they should be included in your dietary intake.  Next time you are thinking about what to eat, keep in mind your ocular health and choose something from this list.