8 Foods Fight Macular Degeneration

8 Foods Fight Macular Degeneration

Researchers continue to search for a cure to stop macular degeneration, the number one blinding disease in the world. Although a cure may just be around the corner, other applications have been used to slow down or navigate the disease including: anti-VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) injections, stem cell surgery, and sight enhancing prosthetic devices to name a few. As many of these medical advancements and others continue to bring us closer to a cure, changing your diet may have a peripherally significant impact on preventing or slowing age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

These 8 foods that help fight macular degeneration have been shown by research to help in the fight against ocular degeneration. In addition to a good exercise program and, if needed, medical intervention, adding these specific foods to your diet may put you ahead of the curve. They are full of anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant compounds that science has linked to helping benefit AMD progression as well as macular degeneration prevention.

Black Grapes 

Sweet black grapes are chock full of carotenoids (fat-soluble pigments which give color to plant parts) called lutein and zeaxanthin. These have been shown to prevent oxidative stress to the retina and other degenerative changes that could lead to AMD. 

According to a study by researchers at The University of Miami, 

“…retina thickness and photoreceptor numbers were not reduced by oxidative stress in mice on the grape-supplemented diet, indicating significantly higher photoreceptor survival…mice on the grape diet showed preservation of retina function after oxidative stress injury…A diet supplemented with grapes rescued retinal structure and function in an oxidative stress-induced mouse model of retinal degeneration, which demonstrates the beneficial effect of grapes on photoreceptors.”

Add a handful of black grapes to your diet at least three times per week. Look for organic black grapes as this fruit is highly susceptible to pesticides permeating the thin, vulnerable skin. 

Spinach Juice

Sometimes it is the unconventional recommendations that show significant results. It is well known that dark green leafy vegetables like kale, spinach and collard greens are super foods for the body but most people would not think of spinach juice as a powerhouse player especially when it comes to macular degeneration. This is because spinach juice is loaded with highly potent amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin as well as vitamin A.

In the paper “Associations between Lutein, Zeaxanthin, and Age-Related Macular Degeneration” published in the journal ‘Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition’, researchers from the Department of Human Nutritional Sciences, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada reported that, 

Lutein and zeaxanthin are macular pigments that may play a role in reducing the development and progression of age-related macular degeneration. Evidence is accumulating on the consumption of lutein and zeaxanthin (in whole food or supplemental form), the resulting concentrations in the serum, and tissue distribution throughout the body, particularly in the retina. Lutein and zeaxanthin intake increases serum concentrations which in turn increases macular pigment density.”

In addition, spinach juice is high in vitamin A which is also linked to helping reduce AMD.

Vitamin A has been shown to assist in the reduction of vision loss due to macular degeneration. The Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) sponsored by the National Eye Institute found that people with mild or moderate AMD were instructed to take a multi-vitamin daily that included vitamin A. The study concluded that the people who took the multi-vitamin every day for six years showed a 25 percent reduction risk of developing advanced AMD.  

As the spinach cooks these nutrients are often discarded with the juice leaving only minimal amounts in the spinach itself. Save the juice after you cook spinach and consume about eight to sixteen ounces per day or at least three times per week. 


Bringing pineapples into your diet could be another way you can get some potent eye nutrition while reducing inflammation at the same time. Pineapples contain a list of super compounds, flavonoids and phenolic acids linked to fighting macular degeneration. 

These include:

  • Vitamin C – Prevents oxidative stress on the macula
  • Manganese – Antioxidant properties
  • Potassium – Reduces inflammation
  • Beta-carotene – Antioxidant properties
  • Bromelain – Acts as a natural anti-inflammatory 

Prepare a pineapple weekly by cutting it into pieces and freezing in your freezer. Each day, use a few pieces in a smoothie, on top of cereal or in other dishes you might enjoy it (some even like it on pizza). Either way, sneaking this nutritious fruit into your dietary routine helps bring another natural macular degeneration fighting tool to the front lines of this blinding disease. 

4 Foods with Vitamin D

Vitamin D has been linked to helping reduce the effects of advanced AMD. According to a study by combined research from American and French scientists, published in the journal Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science concluded that,

“Our prospective study suggests that higher intake of dietary vitamin D is associated with a lower risk of progression to advanced AMD, and especially to the NV subtype. Consuming foods rich in vitamin D may contribute to an eye-healthy diet.”

Your body does not produce vitamin D but it does convert it from absorbing natural sunlight. As more people protect themselves from cancer causing sun rays, a Vitamin D3 supplement is recommended. However, there are some foods that contain this important nutrient. 

These foods include:

  • Cheese 
  • Beef liver
  • Egg yolks
  • Fatty fish, like tuna, mackerel, and salmon

There are also many foods fortified with a vitamin D supplement like some cereals, dairy products, orange juice and soy milks.

These 8 foods that help fight macular degeneration are top tier additions you should try to incorporate for optimal visual health. Other foods can be important as well including antioxidant rich dark green leafy vegetables, other citrus fruits high in vitamin C like kiwi, oranges, and cantaloupe as well as carrots, squash, and tomatoes which are all rich in vitamin A. 

Overall, eating more plant based choices seems to be a good gauge on keeping the debilitating effects of macular degeneration on the sidelines and your vision healthy for years to come.