Improving Eyesight With Dragon Fruit

  • Ka Yin Chan BSc Cognitive Neuroscience and Psychology, University of Manchester
  • Zahraa Al-Lami Alevel Biology, Chemistry, Psychology and Arabic, The UCL Academy

 Eyesight is very important for daily activities, such as reading, driving and working. You may have been trying to maintain your eyes’ health by consuming supplements that are designed for eye health. However, have you ever wondered if turning to fruit could be the answer? 

Dragon fruit is rich in vitamin A, vitamin C and beta-carotene. These nutrients are good for your eyes as they provide protection for the cornea of your eyes. Dragon fruit is also anti-inflammatory due to its antioxidant properties which can help prevent oxidative stress on the retina. In short, dragon fruit is highly beneficial for your eyesight.

Want to know how this works? Scroll down and read on!


Importance of maintaining good eyesight

It is very important to maintain good eyesight because we rely on our eyes heavily every day. We need our eyes to see things clearly to navigate around our surroundings as well as interact with others. According to a survey carried out by a group of researchers in 2016, of the 2044 respondents, 87.5% of them agreed that good vision is a vital part of overall health. Almost half of them believed that loss of vision would be the worst health outcome. Most of them also agreed that it would negatively affect their quality of life. I believe most of you are reading this with no issues, however, imagine having visual trouble reading this article or even looking at things around you because everything is blurry.  Sight is ranked the most valuable sense amongst other senses, such as hearing, touch and taste. This is why preventing eye disorders, for example, cataracts and glaucoma, which can lead to low vision or even blindness is crucial for a better quality of life. 

Overview of dragon fruit and its potential benefits for eye health

Dragon fruit contains vitamin A and vitamin E both of which are good for maintaining colour vision and low-light vision. Dragon fruit also contains antioxidants which are beneficial for eye health as it prevents oxidative stress which can lead to cell layer damage and hence decreased visual acuity and vision loss. 

Understanding dragon fruit

What is dragon fruit?

Dragon fruit, also known as pitaya, is a tropical fruit that is native to Central and Southern America. It is now cultivated around the world, including Asia, Australia and the United States. Although we call it a fruit, scientifically speaking, it is a cactus called Selenicereus undatus or formerly named Hylocereus undatus. It has a very distinctive appearance with pink or yellow scaly skin. In contrast, on the inside, the flesh can be white or red with small black seeds. 

Varieties of dragon fruit

  1. White dragon fruit
  2. Red dragon fruit
  3. Yellow dragon fruit
  4. Pink dragon fruit
  5. Sour dragon fruit

Nutritional content of dragon fruit

In every 100 g of dragon fruit, it contains:

  • Energy: 57 kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 15.23 g
  • Fat: 0.14 g 
  • Protein: 0.36 g
  • Fibre: 3.1 g
  • Sugar: 9.75 g

Components of dragon fruit beneficial for eye health

Vitamins and minerals

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Beta-carotene


Dietary fibre

How dragon fruit can improve eyesight

Role of vitamin A in maintaining good eyesight

Vitamin A is vital for maintaining good eyesight due to its role in visual phototransduction. Phototransduction refers to the process where a photon, (which is light) is converted to an electrical signal in the retina. As our body cannot produce vitamin A on its own, it has to be ingested. Vitamin A exists as many chemical forms that are involved in the various physiological processes. Not only is it involved in visual phototransduction, it is also involved in the visual cycle, transport from blood circulation to the photoreceptor outer segments and accumulation and clearance of toxic derivatives of vitamin A. These processes are all linked to one another. The visual cycle refers to the processes where visual pigment is generated in response to light exposure. Improper functioning of the visual cycle reduces the efficiency of visual detection and increases the amount of toxic chemicals in the retina. As a result, vitamin A is very important in maintaining good eyesight as it modulates the numerous processes related to visual detection.

Antioxidants and their impact on eye health

Oxidative stress refers to the imbalance between the production of oxidants and antioxidants. Oxidative stress happens when there are too many oxygen reactive species (ROS) in your body and your body cannot detoxify these reactive products in time. Although ROS can be helpful for cell signalling, when there is an accumulation of it, the imbalance leads to cell and tissue damage. The role of antioxidants in response to oxidative stress is to interrupt the production of ROS and hence alleviate oxidative stress. Ageing and oxidative stress are the major causes for cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) which reduces the acuity of daylight central vision. Therefore, antioxidants are crucial for fighting oxidative stress and both preventing and slowing down the progression of eye disorders. 

Reducing the risk of eye diseases


Cataracts are diagnosed when a part of the lens of your eyes, which is responsible for focussing light onto the retina, becomes cloudy. Cataracts usually happen in the elderly. Symptoms of cataracts include blurry vision, faded colour perception, being sensitive to light and trouble seeing things clearly at night. If not receiving proper treatment, through removing the cataract through surgery, it can lead to loss of vision. 

Now you may ask how dragon fruit can help reduce the risk of cataracts. First and foremost, a study has shown that normal subjects consumed more vitamin A than those with cataracts meaning that normal subjects have better vitamin A nutritional status. This suggested that vitamin A has a protective role in preventing cataracts. In addition, vitamin E was also found to be inversely correlated to the risk of cataract in which a higher consumption of vitamin E would cause a 14% lower risk of cataracts. This means that consuming more vitamin E can help prevent cataract. Moreover, beta-carotene also possibly has an inversely related to the risk of cataracts. In short, nutrients in dragon fruit can improve eye health and help prevent cataracts. 

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is age-related, as you can tell from the name, and is more common among the elderly. People with AMD will have a blurry vision in the central area due to the damage to the macular which is responsible for central vision and focussing on fine details. The risk factors of AMD include ageing, genetics, low intake of antioxidants and high oxidative stress. As oxidants are responsible for the ageing process, antioxidants play a vital role in lowering the risk of AMD. Studies have discovered that vitamins have a beneficial effect on preventing AMD where vitamin A, C and E are the most effective in preventing macular degeneration. Although only vitamin A is involved in retinal processes, vitamin C and E act as antioxidants which can also intervene with the progression of AMD. Moreover, studies have shown that beta-carotene has a positive outcome on controlling AMD and improving vision acuity. 

Incorporating dragon fruit into your diet

Fresh dragon fruit consumption

When choosing a ripe dragon fruit, you should choose the ones with bright skin colours without many blemishes. It should not be too soft when you press it. When removing the skin, you can either remove it with a knife, which is easier, or peel it like peeling a banana. You can slice the flesh in cubes which is more convenient for later preparation. However, some people prefer to scoop out the flesh with a spoon. Nonetheless, it is completely your choice. 

Dragon fruit smoothie recipes

You can also add dragon fruit to your smoothie and blend it with other fruits, popular options are mango and banana. However, it depends on your preference entirely. If you want to add a little bit more sweetness, consider adding honey to your smoothie for additional benefits and a sweeter taste. Adding other fruits to your dragon fruit smoothie also increases its nutritional values as different fruits contain different nutrients which provide further health benefits. 

Additional tips for eye health

Importance of a balanced diet

The recommended daily intake of fruit and vegetables is at least 5 portions of 80 g per day. Although dragon fruit is good for your eye health, you should not be consuming too much dragon fruit. As dragon fruit is rich in vitamin A, consuming too much vitamin A can lead to hypervitaminosis A. Symptoms of acute hypervitaminosis A include dizziness, nausea, headache and abdominal pain. For chronic hypervitaminosis A, you may experience dry skin, sleep disturbance and blurry vision. Therefore, it is important to keep your diet balanced with enough protein, carbohydrates and fats every day. 

Regular eye check-ups

Having regular eye check-ups can maintain good eye health and overall wellbeing. An eye check-up usually includes measuring your eye pressure and vision test. Some may even include an OCT eye scan which can detect subtle changes in your eyes, aiding in diagnosing eye diseases early on and minimising damage. 


To summarise, due to the nutrients within dragon fruit, including various vitamins and antioxidants, consuming it has many positive impacts on your eye health and can help prevent eye disorders like cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. With the active role of vitamin A in retinal processes, adding dragon fruit to your diet can improve your eyesight by facilitating the biochemical processes and clearing toxic derivatives. However, you should also bear in mind that having a balanced diet is also important for your overall health. If your eyes feel unwell or you find your vision blurry, you should take an eye test with an optician and seek professional help.


This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Ka Yin Chan

BSc Cognitive Neuroscience and Psychology, University of Manchester

She is a Neuroscience student with strong interest in clinical research and medical communications. She believes that the ever-growing field of scientific research is crucial for understanding health and hence improve it.

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