If you were asked to tell a food name that you think is beneficial for your eyes, the first thing coming to your mind would probably be carrots or maybe fish. Yes, thanks to certain nutrients they contain, carrots and fish can actually help you maintain healthy eyesight, according to studies (1),(2),(3).
But how about other foods that are genuinely beneficial for the eyes, but less famous than carrots when it comes to eye health?
Can eggs – more specifically egg yolks – be one of these foods that are good for the eyes?
The short answer is, yes. As mentioned in the title “eating egg yolks (yellow part of the egg) on a regular basis can help keep your eyes healthy”.
At that point, you may want to ask why we talk about specifically egg yolks. Isn’t egg white beneficial for your eye health?
Well, there is no doubt, the white part of the egg as well offers many health benefits (4),(5). However, the reason we focus on only the yolk stems from the fact that egg yolks contain the nutrients that are essential for the eyes.
But, the more important question to ask is; who says or claims that eating eggs can help protect eye health?
The answer is scientists and researchers.
Multiple studies have shown that egg yolks supply some of the essential nutrients for the eyes, thus reducing the risk of developing certain eye diseases, such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
Indeed, we will be talking about these studies in the rest of the article.
Nutrients Available in Egg Yolks
As mentioned above, certain nutrients that exist in egg yolks are the main reason why the yellow part of the egg is heavily associated with better eyesight. So, briefly talking about the nutrients found in the egg yolk should be quite relevant.
Egg yolk contains a wide range of minerals, vitamins and other essential nutrients. Therefore, below, we highlighted only the main nutrients as well as the most relevant ones in terms of eye health.
Note: The information below was taken by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (6);
are available in the yolk from one standard size of an egg.
In fact, the nutrients given above show us how nutritious can the yolk be.
However, among these nutrients, we will be talking about only zinc, lutein and zeaxanthin. Because they are the main nutrients that make egg yolk a perfect food choice for your eyes.
Three Reasons Egg Yolk Can Help Protect Your Eyes
We now know that 3 particular nutrients – namely; zinc, lutein and zeaxanthin – in egg yolks can help you maintain healthy eyesight.
Are there studies that can convince us about the fact that these nutrients can protect eye health?
In fact, this is what we are going to do in this section. We are going to explain why these three nutrients are essential for your eye health.
1-) Zinc in Egg Yolks Helps Good Eyesight
However, when it comes to contributing to eye health, zinc surpasses most other nutrients.
The good news is zinc is found in large supply in egg yolk. With numbers though; one large egg provides 0.65 mg of zinc (14).
Note that, an adult man needs 11 mg of zinc per day whereas an adult woman needs 8 mg of zinc, according to the National Institutes of Health (14).
So, what does zinc do for your eyes?
If your body lacks zinc, you may develop certain eye problems, such as night blindness or cloudy cataracts (16).
Now it is clear that zinc is an important nutrient for your eye health; therefore, has to be found sufficiently in your eyes.
It bears repeating; eating eggs can supply a decent amount of zinc to your eyes, thus reducing the risk of developing eye problems.
2-) Lutein in Egg Yolks Can Protect Your Eyes
Lutein is a carotenoid antioxidant that has many benefits in the human body. What’s claimed is that this antioxidant is especially beneficial and necessary for good eyesight.
It is important to note that the human body is better able to absorb lutein from eggs than leafy green vegetables, according to a recent study.
So, how does lutein contribute to your eye health?
First of all, it is necessary to indicate that lutein is found in the macula region of your eye; the part of the eye essential for good vision, according to Healthline (23).
Lutein is suggested to protect the eyes against high-energy light waves such as sunlight, thereby minimising the risk of light-caused oxidative damage, that can turn into macular degeneration (24),(25),(26).
The conclusion is that consuming lutein-rich egg yolk on a regular basis may help keep certain eye disorders at bay.
3-) Zeaxanthin in Egg Yolks Can Protect Your Eyes
Zeaxanthin is another eye-friendly antioxidant that is found in the macula region of your eyes, just like lutein. Zeaxanthin, too, is claimed to be significant for eye health.
This eye-protective antioxidant is heavily available in leafy green vegetables. Apart from the leafy green vegetables though, you can also get a decent amount of zeaxanthin from the yellow part of the eggs (10),(22),(30).
Why is zeaxanthin important for eye health?
Their difference is where they found most. While lutein is dominant in the sides of the retina (macula) zeaxanthin is located primarily in the centre of the retina (31).
Studies and eye doctors tell us that zeaxanthin may bring the following benefits;
- Zeaxanthin may slow down the progression of age-related macular degeneration (32).
- This eye-friendly antioxidant may slow down the formation of cataracts (32),(33).
- Zeaxanthin supplementation may be good against diabetic retinopathy (34),(35).
The conclusion is zeaxanthin, as well as lutein, can help you maintain good vision. It bears repeating, egg yolk contains both of these eye-friendly antioxidants in large quantities.
Egg Yolks and Eye Health – Scientific Studies
It is now obvious that since egg yolks contain eye-friendly nutrients (zinc, zeaxanthin and lutein), adding the yolk to your healthy diet can help you maintain good eyesight. And, we analysed various studies, showing the positive impact of these nutrients on the eyes.
Nonetheless, we haven’t mentioned any study that is specifically about egg yolk and its benefits for the eyes. Isn’t there any study specifically about egg yolks and eye health?
There are studies on egg yolk and its potential benefits for the eyes. In this section, we will be analysing some of these studies.
1-) Egg Yolks Increased Macular Pigment Concentrations
In a 2006 study, researchers aimed to find out if increased consumption of eggs would increase retinal lutein and zeaxanthin, or macular pigment (36).
24 females participated in the study. They were requested to consume 6 eggs every week for 12 weeks.
At the end of the 12 weeks, researchers discovered that both zeaxanthin levels and macular (retina) pigment optimal density increased.
Upon the findings, researchers concluded that eating 6 eggs a week might be an effective way to increase macular pigment optical density (MPOD).
Note: macular pigment protects the eyes against the harmful effects of blue lights (37).
2-) Egg-Yolk Increased Lutein and Zeaxanthin Concentrations
In a 2014 study published in Journal Plos, researchers aimed to discover whether lutein or zeaxanthin enriched eggs or lutein enriched egg-yolk based buttermilk increase lutein and zeaxanthin concentration and macular pigment levels (38),(39).
100 health volunteers were randomly divided into 5 groups for 90 days.
Group one consumed normal egg while group two consumed a lutein enriched egg-yolk based drink.
Group three consumed one lutein enriched egg while group four consumed one zeaxanthin enriched egg.
Group five was the control group and individuals didn’t change their daily diet.
Results showed that lutein concentration increased significantly in the lutein fortified egg and egg-yolk based beverage groups.
Moreover, a sharp zeaxanthin concentration increase was seen in the participants who consumed zeaxanthin enriched eggs.
However, there were no changes enough to note in macular pigment density.
Note: As we discussed earlier in this article; lutein and zeaxanthin (found in egg yolks) can protect your eye health from light damage.
If you are one of those who often prefer eating eggs in the breakfast (or any other meal of the day), you should know you are doing a favour to your eyes thanks to the eye-friendly antioxidants that exist in the egg yolks.
If you follow a vegan diet, that excludes eggs, you can still get these antioxidants through green leafy vegetables, thus protecting your eyes against certain eye diseases.
So, various scientific studies support our claim:” Eating egg-yolks on a regular basis can protect eye health thanks to the certain nutrients found in the yolk”.
However, expecting to see rapid positive results from eggs consumption might be deceptive. So, focus on the long term benefits.
And, remember healthy eyes requires a healthy diet. No single food can alone be enough to have a quality vision. Try to consume foods that are rich in eye-friendly antioxidants like zeaxanthin, lutein and also zinc.
Additionally, as you know words can’t explain the importance of our eyes. So, protecting them is crucial. For that, we recommend you consult your eye doctor if you have any eye problems instead of finding the treatment outside.
Moreover, do not forget to visit your eye doctor at least once every year regardless of your eyes condition. In doing so, you can maintain healthy eyesight.
Note: If you have high cholesterol or egg allergy, talk to your doctor or dietician about the consumption of eggs.
Tarkan is an experienced health writer ( currently more than 600 articles ) and also the founder of this website namely www.neededforhealth.com. His expertise in health stems from in-depth medical research and knowledge which he obtained over the course of many years.
Tarkan enjoys sharing factual knowledge on health, psychology and nutrition. He always aims to deliver evidence-based recommendations, provide links to related scientific studies.