Some seed oils are associated with the development of macular degeneration because of their high fat content. Less processed oils are generally healthier and can have a protective effect on your overall health.

Foods contain most of the vital nutrients we need for a healthy life and even some that can combat, cure, or prevent various conditions.

There are lots of foods that are beneficial to your eye health overall. But seed oils, in particular, have been studied for their impact on retinal health and diseases like macular degeneration — the leading cause of blindness in adults.

This article will explore what seed oils you should consume or avoid if you have or are at a higher risk of developing macular degeneration.

Natural seed oils have many health benefits, but not all oils are created equally.

Seed oils that are high in certain types of fats can actually do more harm than good.

Trans fats are highly processed saturated fats that are sometimes referred to as industrialized oils because they’re modified from their natural state to improve usability and shelf life in packaged foods.

Examples of oils that fall into this category may include:

  • sunflower oil
  • canola oil
  • soybean oil

These may also be referred to as hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils. Vegetable and seed oils can fall into this group and have been associated with a higher risk of various health problems, including macular degeneration.

There’s also some evidence that monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA), polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA), and even omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids may not be the most beneficial for eye health.

These types of fats are also considered saturated fats and have been linked to some of the same health problems as trans fats.

Learn about other foods to avoid if you’re at risk of developing macular degeneration.

Saturated and polyunsaturated fats seem to have the biggest impact on eye health, according to numerous studies. There’s a wide range of foods that contain these fats, but seed oils associated with eye health risks include:

  • walnut oil
  • sunflower oil
  • flax oil
  • safflower oil
  • soybean oil
  • corn oil

Not all oils are bad, and some can have some health benefits. However, natural oils that require little processing have been associated with better eye health, or have protective qualities.

Specifically, carotenoids like lutein (LUT) and zeaxanthin (ZEA), and the polyunsaturated fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are all associated with good retinal health and may prevent or help reduce the effects of age-related vision changes such as macular degeneration.

Dark leafy greens, yellow vegetables, and fish oils are among the richest sources of these nutrients, but some seeds also contain valuable stores of LUT, ZEA, or DHA. These include seeds or berries like:

  • goji berries
  • pistachios
  • pumpkin
  • corn
  • peas

Flaxseed has a lot of health benefits. It’a a good source of fiber and has benefits for your heart and digestive system. When incorporated into your diet or supplemented in the foods you eat, flaxseed can be good for you.

But there’s also research that suggests flax oil may increase your risk of developing macular degeneration.

Flax oils are sometimes used to help other eye conditions, though, such as dry eye.

Make sure to talk with your healthcare team or eye doctor if you’re at an increased risk of developing macular degeneration and you have questions about your diet.

Processed seed oils are notoriously high in saturated and trans fats, but other types of oils and fats offer a wide range of health benefits. Too much or too little of any fats carry risks, though, so there are other foods and supplements you can use to boost your eye health.

Some of the best foods for your eyes include things like:

  • nuts
  • grapes
  • dark, leafy greens like spinach or kale
  • carrots
  • fish
  • eggs

Many seed oils are associated with the development of macular degeneration because of their high fat content.

Less processed oils are generally healthier and can have a protective effect on your overall health. Consult a healthcare professional about your specific risk factors for eye diseases like macular degeneration and steps you can take to prevent or slow the progression of vision loss.