How to Improve Eyesight Naturally: 7 Proven Tips for Better Vision

Medically Reviewed By Ann Marie Griff, O.D.
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Natural steps for better eyesight and prevention of vision loss include diet changes, quitting smoking, and protecting your eyes when outdoors. Contact an eye doctor if you have changes in vision that affect your ability to perform everyday tasks.

This article discusses natural ways to help improve eyesight and lower your risk of eye damage. It also provides guidance on when to contact a doctor to improve vision.

Eat a diet with vitamins and minerals

Some vitamins and minerals provide antioxidants or anti-inflammatory benefits that can help slow macular degeneration and vision loss. 

Macular degeneration is a condition in which the eye’s central vision deteriorates over time, usually due to aging. It can lead to partial or complete vision loss.

The National Eye Institute conducted a large-scale study between 1992 and 2006 that included research on age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

The Age-Related Eye Disease Study followed more than 4,700 participants between ages 55 and 80 to test combinations of nutrients and their effect on eye health. These nutrients included:

Over the 10-year course of observation, researchers found that people who took a combination of antioxidants, zinc, and copper had a 25–30% lower risk of progressing from intermediate to advanced AMD.

To help reduce or prevent macular degeneration and other forms of vision loss, consider including these vitamins and minerals in your diet. 

Food sources for these nutrients include:

  • carrots
  • broccoli
  • spinach
  • citrus fruits

Learn the six best and worst foods for macular degeneration.

It may be difficult to consume the recommended daily amounts of these vitamins and minerals through diet alone. Supplements can help boost levels of these nutrients. However, people who smoke or have smoked in the past must avoid taking beta carotene supplements.

Always talk with a doctor before beginning any type of supplement.

Eat foods with carotenoids

Carotenoids are a type of antioxidant that are naturally present in the eye and help protect the lens and retina from light damage.

Types of carotenoids include:

  • beta carotene
  • lutein
  • zeaxanthin
  • lycopene

Food sources of carotenoids include:

  • orange fruits and vegetables, such as mango and carrots
  • dark, leafy greens, such as kale or spinach
  • tomatoes
  • egg yolks

Carotenoids are also available as supplements. Always talk with a doctor before beginning any vitamin or nutrient supplement.

Learn seven foods for better eye health.

Wear UV-blocking sunglasses

Woman outdoors on ski mountain wearing sunglasses
Koen Meershoek/Stocksy United

Wearing sunglasses when outside — during all seasons, not just summer — can protect your eyes from UV damage. This includes cloudy days, since UV rays still pass through.

Look for sunglasses that provide 100% UV400 protection and block both UVA and UVB sunlight.

Children can also experience eye damage due to UV light, so make sure they have proper fitting sunglasses, too.

Follow the 20-20-20 rule

Many eye doctors recommend practicing the 20-20-20 rule, especially in today’s age of consistent digital device use. 

When working on a screen, take visual breaks every 20 minutes, looking away for 20 seconds at something at least 20 feet away. This can help reduce eye fatigue and dry eye.

However, a small 2022 study found that people may require longer periods of eye rest to show significant improvement in vision.

Learn how screen time can cause dry eye.

Consider quitting smoking

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), smoking doubles your risk of developing AMD and can triple your risk of developing cataracts.

Among the many health reasons to quit smoking, benefits to your eye health include:

  • improved vision due to reduced damage to your eye from smoke
  • better night vision
  • lower cholesterol, which lowers your risk of eye damage due to plaque deposits
  • reduced blood pressure, which lowers your risk of nerve and blood vessel damage in the eye

If you smoke and are trying to quit, talk with your doctor about smoking cessation strategies and treatments.

Learn tips for quitting smoking.

Try eye exercises

According to a small 2013 study, eye exercises may help improve accuracy and letter recognition. However, the study reported that experts need more research to evaluate whether eye exercises actually enhance vision.

If you experience changes in your vision due to extensive computer use, a treatment called vision therapy can help improve eye focus and train your brain and eyes to work better together.

Talk with an eye doctor about vision therapy options if you have concerns about how computer use affects your eyes.

Keep your hands clean

Touching your eyes with dirty hands, such as when handling contact lenses, can easily infect them with germs, bacteria, and diseases. These can lead to irritation, dryness, and blurriness in your vision.

Always wash your hands before touching your eyes, replace or clean contact lenses regularly, and store contacts in a proper disinfecting solution made specifically for contact lenses.

Learn the right steps for washing your hands.

When to contact an eye doctor

To maintain your eye health, contact an eye doctor regularly for annual checkups and dilated eye exams. This can help detect eye conditions early and begin treatment before they worsen or cause permanent vision loss.

According to the CDC, some people may want to consider contacting an eye doctor more often, including people older than 60 years old or who have diabetes or a family history of glaucoma.

Contact an eye doctor if you have changes in vision that disrupt your ability to perform or enjoy daily activities. An ophthalmologist or optometrist can discuss corrective lenses or medical treatments to improve your eyesight.

Get urgent care if you experience symptoms including:

Frequently asked questions

Here are some common questions about how to improve eyesight. Ann Marie Griff, O.D., has reviewed the answers.

Can you improve eyesight naturally?

There are some natural ways to protect your eyesight and improve your eye health. They include eating a nutritious diet with vitamins and minerals, quitting smoking, and wearing sunglasses when outdoors.

Can I restore my 20/20 vision naturally?

No, it is not possible to restore your 20/20 vision naturally. Natural steps like a wholesome diet and quitting smoking can help protect your eyesight, but they cannot reverse changes in vision. Talk with an eye doctor about medical treatments to improve your eyesight.

Which fruits are good for your eyes?

Fruits that are high in vitamins A, C, and E can be beneficial for the eyes. These include citrus fruits, such as lemons and oranges. Mangos are a good source of beta carotene, and tomatoes contain high amounts of lycopene. Both of these are carotenoids that can help improve eye health.

Summary

Natural ways to protect your eyesight and improve eye health include eating a diet with antioxidants and other minerals, quitting smoking, wearing sunglasses, and resting your eyes frequently.

Contact an eye doctor for changes in vision that interfere with daily activities. Get urgent care for sudden vision loss, severe eye pain, or double vision.

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Medical Reviewer: Ann Marie Griff, O.D.
Last Review Date: 2022 Nov 15
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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.
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