Eye vitamins are supplements that support and improve your ability to see. Getting the right level of vitamins and minerals for your eyes can help maintain your vision as you get older.
Large, multi-site clinical trials have demonstrated that the right eye vitamin can prevent macular degeneration in adults over 50 and retain the same quality of eyesight that you had when you were young.
Our research team has evaluated the best eye supplements out there according to the latest clinical research recommendations and found your best options for protecting and preserving your eyesight as you get older.
1. VitaBalance Lutenol
Don’t let impaired vision slow you down. Whether you’re dealing with age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, or poor cataracts, use VitaBalance Lutenol to give your eyes the nutrients they need to stay healthy.
This formula contains the powerful antioxidant, Lutein, to protect your eyes from light exposure, and Zeaxanthin to protect the retina from light damages, as well as zinc and vitamins A, C, and E to protect, strengthen, and repair your eyes.
Together, it’s the most potent formula we’ve seen for your eyes—supporting healthy eye function and improving retina, lens and macula health.
That’s probably because Lutenol was developed in response to scientific research into the natural ingredients that improve eye health and function.
All natural. Made in an FDA-registered facility that follows GMP guidelines.
The all-around eye vitamin winner of 2019.
2. Bausch+Lomb PreserVision AREDS 2
Bausch+Lomb PreserVision is an eye vitamin that carries the precise formulation tested in the AREDS 2 clinical trial that was proven to substantially reduce the risk of macular degeneration in adults over 50.
This advanced formula follows the scientific prescription to a T, with lutein and zeaxanthin replacing the beta-carotene in the original AREDS formulation. It’s a good choice if you want to protect your eyesight as you get older.
3. Focus Select
Focus Select is a nearly direct reproduction of the AREDS 2 formula and is intended to be taken twice per day.
While its copper content is just a touch lower than it ought to be, this is about the only flaw you can find with this eye vitamin. It’s got all the right ingredients and doesn’t go beyond what’s necessary for optimal eye health in old age.
4. Lipotriad Visionary
Lipotriad Visionary is an eye vitamin that’s well-suited for people who don’t want any artificial coloring agents or fillers in their eye vitamin. It’s got just the ingredients that work, and nothing extra. It follows the AREDS2 trial recommendations, though its vitamin C content is far below the clinically effective dose, even if you take two servings per day. If your dietary vitamin C content is high, this might not be an issue. The zeaxanthin content, however, is excellent compared to many other supplements on the market, which lands it high in the rankings.
5. Systane ICaps
Systane ICaps is an evidence-based eye vitamin that goes beyond the basic clinical trial recommendations and includes additional trace elements like manganese and selenium.
It’s a modified version of the original AREDS formula, which used beta-carotene instead of lutein and zeaxanthin.
Because of the beta-carotene content, cigarette smokers should opt for a different supplement, but if you want additional vitamins and minerals that could support proper eye function, it’s a good choice.
6. BeLive Lutein & Zeaxanthin Gummies
BeLive Lutein & Zeaxanthin is a well-balanced eye vitamin that largely follows the AREDS 2 clinical trial recommendations, though doesn’t quite have the same vitamin content.
The zinc content is a little low, and the presence of sugar alcohol might be an issue for some people.
They are good, however, if you don’t handle pills very well: these gummies are chewable, making them more palatable and easy to take.
7. EyePromise Zeaxanthin + Lutein
EyePromise Zeaxanthin + Lutein is a supplement that consists solely of zeaxanthin and lutein in equal doses of 10 mg per serving.
It’s a solid choice if you really want the highest zeaxanthin content that you can get, as it has up to five times the dosage of many other eye vitamins on the market.
However, it’s lacking in some of the critical minerals that support eye health, like zinc and copper, not to mention other clinically-proven ingredients like vitamins C and E.
8. Zenwise Health Marigold-Derived Lutein
Zenwise Health makes a lutein supplement that is sourced from natural materials. The lutein and zeaxanthin content is solid, at 20 mg and 1 mg per serving, respectively.
With one capsule in the morning and one in the evening, you’d easily hit the optimal intake of these vitamins for eye health.
In contrast, lack of any of the other essential vitamins and minerals for eye health, like vitamins C and E as well as copper and zinc, make it less suitable for people concerned about long-term eye health.
9. Made in Utah Eye Health Formula
Made in Utah has an “extended” eye health formula that’s got many ingredients more than the clinical trial standard.
Its zinc and copper content are solid, though the lutein—one of the critical ingredients—is blended in with a proprietary mixture, making it hard to tell whether the lutein content conforms to the current best practices.
While the dosage is low, this supplement does include beta-carotene, so it’s a no-go for smokers.
10. Healths Harmony Lutein Eye Vitamins
Healths Harmony Lutein Eye Vitamins are a blend of scientifically validated vitamins and minerals alongside herbal treatments like quercetin, bilberry, and grape seed extract.
These are strong antioxidants which the manufacturer claims can assist with improving vision. This supplement also contains a very high dose of beta carotene, which means smokers should definitely avoid it.
11. Puritan’s Pride Lutigold Lutein 40
Puritan’s Pride focuses on the beta-carotene derivative lutein, along with a related compound called zeaxanthin. The lutein content is great, at four times the usual dose for clinical trials.
The zeaxanthin content, however, is a little lacking. It only contains 1.6 mg per serving, while the standard dose used in clinical trials is 2 mg.
The lack of any other beneficial eye vitamins hurts, too, making this supplement only useful if you are solely interested in upping your dietary lutein intake to help your eyes.
Eye vitamin benefits and side effects
Taking an eye vitamin is one of the best things you can do to ensure that your vision stays strong as you get older.
Vision loss, especially through macular degeneration, is one of the biggest causes of a loss of quality of life in people as they age.
The right combination of vitamins and minerals can nourish and protect your eyesight, ensuring that you can live life to the fullest even as you get older.
An eye vitamin can protect your vision from degrading as you get older. Based on a wealth of scientific literature, the National Institutes of Health launched a major clinical trial in the mid-1990s that tested a new vitamin and mineral supplement on the rate of advanced macular degeneration, which is one of the leading causes of vision loss in adults over 50 (1).
This supplement was prepared and tested against a placebo at eleven different clinics, enrolling over 3000 participants (2). These decisions were based on earlier research which showed promising results with each of these nutrients individually.
The participants in this double-blind clinical trial were followed for over six years and the incidence of macular degeneration was recorded.
The results showed that the supplement conferred a 28% decreased risk of macular degeneration, and moreover, this occurred without any statistically significant increase in reported side effects compared to placebo.
Eye vitamins should contain lutein and zeaxanthin for optimal results. While the results of this first trial, termed the AREDS study (Age-Related Eye Disease Study), were impressive, scientists saw room for improvement.
First, research had come out in the interim time between when the study was launched and when the results were known that indicated that high beta-carotene intake was associated with an increased risk of lung cancer among people who smoke, so the researchers wanted to rework the formula to make it safe for smokers to take.
This was especially important considering that cigarette smoking is a risk factor for macular degeneration in its own right.
Researchers replaced beta-carotene with lutein and zeaxanthin, two related compounds that appeared capable of providing the same benefits as beta-carotene without the risks to smokers.
Zinc is important for eye health, but the dosage does not need to be particularly high. Some experts also suggested lowering the dose of zinc, and emerging research suggested that omega 3 fatty acids could provide additional benefits for preserving eyesight.
Because of this, a second trial, termed AREDS 2, was launched (3). This study used over 4000 participants and tested variants of the original AREDS eye vitamin formula.
After testing four different variants of the eye vitamin supplement, the researchers concluded that replacing beta-carotene with lutein and zeaxanthin was just as beneficial as the original beta carotene version.
The reduction in zinc content did not alter the effectiveness of the supplement, and the addition of omega 3 fatty acids did not further improve the risk reduction for vision degeneration in old age.
A formula that includes zinc, copper, lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamin C, and vitamin E is the gold standard for eye health. Right now, the AREDS2 formulation is supported by the best possible scientific evidence.
While it’s likely that further research will uncover new ingredients or a better-optimized formulation, the AREDS2 supplement recipe is the best we’ve got right now.
As such, all the best eye vitamins will contain at least the key ingredients used in this clinical trial. You’ll want to make sure your eye vitamin follows the dosage guidelines established in the scientific research for optimal results.
Incredibly, even though supplements based on the AREDS formulation are very effective at protecting your vision as you get older, they don’t seem to cause any significant side effects when used at the recommended dosage.
There were mild side effects reported in the clinical trials, but the rate of these side effects was no different than the rate of people reporting “side effects” from the placebo!
One important note concerns eye vitamin formulations that contain vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene. These are fine for most people, but anyone who uses tobacco should not take a supplement that contains beta carotene or vitamin A.
This is because this supplement has been associated with an increased risk of lung cancer (4). A major clinical trial on using beta-carotene in people at high risk for lung cancer was actually halted almost two years early after the researchers observed that those in the treatment group were being diagnosed with lung cancer at an increased rate compared to the placebo group.
Though rare in supplement research, the massive clinical trials on eye vitamins provide crystal-clear instructions on the optimal daily dosage of each of the most effective eye vitamins (5).
Vitamin C and vitamin E should be taken at 500 mg and 400 mg each, while the zinc content can be between 25 and 80 mg.
Copper, at a dose of 2 mg, should not be skipped, and the formulation is rounded out with 10 mg of lutein and 2 mg of zeaxanthin.
These vitamins and minerals, at these dosages, should be split into two equal doses, taken in the morning and in the evening, like eye drops.
Eye vitamins should be a central part of your supplementation routine if you are over 50.
The high rate of vision loss in older adults, combined with the huge detrimental impact on quality of life that comes along with losing your vision, means you should be doing everything you can to preserve your eyesight as you get older.
Look for an eye vitamin that follows the ingredients most effective in clinical research: vitamins C & E, zinc, copper, lutein, and zeaxanthin. These are the most important vitamins for protecting your vision.
If you use tobacco, you should be particularly careful not to take an eye vitamin that contains beta-carotene. Fortunately, the reduction in risk for vision loss is substantial when you take the right eye vitamin at the right dosage, so you can look ahead to clear vision in old age.