Protect your eyes by eating more foods packed with these vision-friendly nutrients — particularly if you have a family history of either macular degeneration or cataracts.
The pair of antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin are standouts in a family of nutrients called carotenoids because they're the only carotenoids found in the lens of the eye. Like all antioxidants, lutein and zeaxanthin can defuse potentially damaging free radicals. In addition, these antioxidants are found in high concentrations in the tissue of the macula, and because they absorb 40 to 90 percent of blue light intensity, they act like sunscreen for your eyes. Since our bodies can't make lutein and zeaxanthin on their own, we have to get these nutrients from food. Studies have shown that eating foods rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, like kale and other leafy greens, can increase the pigment density in the macula, leading to better retina protection, and possibly a lower risk of macular degeneration.