Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Eye Health Center

Font Size

Vitamin E and Vision

Vitamin E is a potent antioxidant that exists in different forms. Alpha-tocopherol vitamin E is the form that best meets our needs. Vitamin E's main role in the body appears to be neutralizing oxidation. For that reason, researchers think it plays an important role in protecting certain parts of the eye, which is particularly susceptible to oxidative damage. Cataracts, for example, are believed to be formed by oxidation in the lens of the eye caused mostly by UV rays in sunlight.

Eye-related benefits: The Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) found that vitamin E, along with other nutrients, helped some people who had moderate age-related macular degeneration. The nutrients reduced the risk of developing advanced age-related macular degeneration by 25% for those who already had evident early changes of macular degeneration. Evidence from other studies suggests that the alpha-tocopherol form of vitamin E, along with lutein and zeaxanthin, may decrease the risk of cataracts. However, other studies have not found that vitamin E is important for vision, so more research is needed. It's important to talk to your doctor before taking vitamin E supplements in order to discuss the right dose, possible side effects, as well as other treatments.

Recommended Related to Eye Health

Primary Congenital Glaucoma

Primary congenital glaucoma (PCG) is an eye disease that affects children between the ages of birth and 3 years. It is one type of glaucoma. Glaucoma refers to a group of diseases in which there is permanent and characteristic damage to the optic nerve which is usually associated with abnormally high intraocular pressure. Primary congenital glaucoma is rare. It affects about one in every 10,000 infants. But it is serious and needs attention. Untreated primary congenital glaucoma is a major cause...

Read the Primary Congenital Glaucoma article > >

Recommended daily allowance: 22.5 international units/day.

Recommended level for eye health: The American Optometric Association recommends 400 IU/day, based on the level used in the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS).

Safe upper limit: 1,500 IU

Potential risks: Vitamin E can thin your blood, and may increase the risk of hemorrhagic stroke. If you're taking a blood-thinning medication, talk to your doctor before taking a vitamin E supplement. One recent study showed increased mortality in people taking more than 2,000 international units of vitamin E. Other possible side effects cited in studies include fatigue, muscle weakness, and decreased thyroid gland function.

Foods with vitamin E:

Cereal with wheat germ 27 IU

Almonds (1 oz) 11 IU

Sunflower seeds (1 oz) 11 IU

Hazelnuts (1 oz) 6.4 IU

Peanut butter (1 tablespoon) 4 IU

Peanuts (1 oz) 3.6 IU

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Alan Kozarsky, MD on February 23, 2014

Today on WebMD

Woman holding tissue to reddened eye
Learn about causes, symptoms, and treatments.
Simple annoyance or the sign of a problem?
red eyes
Symptoms, triggers, and treatments.
blue eye with contact lens
Tips for wearing and caring.
Understanding Stye
human eye
eye exam timing
vision test
is vision correction surgery for you
high tech contacts
eye drop