What is Eye Health?
A recent survey asked which disability people feared most, the answer the thought of going blind was the most distressing. Imagine not being able to see a rainbow, the sunset, a child's face. It is no surprise this is one of the most feared disabilities. Sadly, there are numerous health conditions that can lead to reduced eyesight, especially age related ailments such as diabetes. Eye problems can be a symptom of something more serious. If you experience eye problems, always check with your GP and/or optician before treatment and monitor your progress carefully.
The alternative and complementary view
There are a number of vitamins, minerals and herbal remedies that can offer considerable benefits in eye health.
Diet and lifestyle should also be part of any supportive program. High carbohydrate foods deplete the body of the important eye nutrient Chromium. Cut back on conventional sugar and other high carbohydrate foods. Eat more vegetables and low carbohydrate foods. If you are a smoker stop. Smoking depletes levels of caratenoids and vitamin c in the body and specifically the eye. Age-Related Macular Degeneration The macula retinae, also called the macula lutea, is an oval disc on the retina in the back of the eye. Degeneration of the macula retinae is the leading cause of blindness in the elderly.Supportive supplementation includes: Antioxidants, Carotenoids, Ginkgo biloba, Bilberry, MSM and Taurine. Cataracts A cataract is a clouding of the lens sufficient to reduce vision. Most cataracts develop slowly as a result of the ageing process, and lead to a gradual reduction in vision. Supportive supplementatition: Antioxidants. Pycnogenol, Bilberry, Carotenoids, MSM and Taurine. Conjunctivitis and Blepharitis Conjunctivitis is inflammation of the clear membrane that lines the eye. It is caused most commonly by infection from viruses or bacteria or by an allergic reaction though other causes exist, such as overexposure to sun, wind, smog, chlorine or contact lense solution. Pinkeye is the common name for conjunctivitis. Blepharitis is inflammation of the eyelid; most commonly it is caused by a bacterial infection. Supportive supplementation: Bilberry, Eyebright, Oregon Grape. Dry Eye Dry eye refers to a syndrome resulting from many conditions that produce abnormalities of tear film flow and/or stability, rather than denoting a specific disease.Supportive supplemtantion: Bilberry, Eyebright, Hempseed oil, sublingual spray. Poor Eyesight(long and short sightedness) Supportive supplementation:Antioxidants, Bilberry, Chromium, Eyebright and Ginkgo biloba. Retinopathy Damage of the retina. Supportive supplementation: Antioxidants, Bilberry Ginkgo biloba and Pycnogenol.
Antioxidants Free radical damage is the major contributing factor in the development of degenerative eye disorders. An antioxidant formular containing vitamins [A, C, E,zinc] and [selenium] would help in neutralising the harmful effects of free radicals. Research indicates that adding vitamin C supplements to what you eat helps control or even prevent glaucoma by decreasing pressure in the eyes(Annals of Ophthalmology) Also, the Eye Disease Case-Control Study Group found a link between insufficient vitamin C intake and macular degeneration ( Journal of the American Medical Association). In addition, cataract risk has been reported to be 45 percent lower amoung woman who use vitamin C supplements for 10 years or more (British Medical Journal) Researchers at Louisiana State University revealed the clinical relevance of zinc when they gave 151 subjects wwith macular degeneration either zinc pills or a placebo. Those who took zinc had a significantly less visual loss after one to two years of treatment then the group on the dummy pill.
Biberry (Vaccinium myrtillus)By improving the circulation to the eye, strengthening the eye tissues and increasing oxygen and energy levels in the eye tissue, Bilberry offers major benefits in prevention and treatment of many eye disorders. Bilberry has a long-standing reputation as a herb for the eyes. Legend has it that in World War 2, British Air Force pilots who spread bilberry jam on their bread saw better during night missions. Science confirms thet bilberries contain a high amount of anthocyanidins and may ward off cararacts, age-related macular degeneration and glaucoma.
Ginkgo Biloba With its antioxidant properties and its ability to improve circulation and protect capillaries, ginkgo has demonstrated its benefit in retinal protection and treatment in experimental trials.
Carotenoids (Lutein, zeaxanthin)The carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, found in brightly colourd vegetables, help protect the visual centre (the macule) of the eye from free radical damage and can reduce our risk for developing [macular degeneration]. A study published in the journal of the American Medical Association found that individuals who consumed the highest amount of lutein- and zeaxanthin-rich vegetables had a 43 percent reduced risk of developing macular degeneration compared with those who ate the lowest amount. Lutein in the lens acts as nature's own sunglasses. Lutein related carotene zeaxanthin, produced by the body from lutein, absorb blue light, the most dangerous type of light for the eyes. The cornea (a clear shield spanning the outer eyes) and lens filter out much ultraviolet light; yet, visible blue light still reaches the retina. Lutein in the macula helps protect your eyes from photochemical damage from ultraviolet, high-energy visable light. Numerous studies have now confirmed these initial findings, and doctors are recommending a regular intake of antioxidant nutrients including important carotenoids. To ensure you're getting adequate lutein and other carotenoids, eat at least five servings of brightly coloured vegetables each day (dark green, red and orange). If you choose to supplement your diet with these nutrients select a product containing a mixure of different carotenes to maintain a balance in your body. Research from Boston's Harvard Medical School studied the eating habits of 50,000 nurses for eight years. Subjects who ate more Carotene rich foods were less likely to develop cataracts.
Chromium According to a study in the Journal of the International Academy of Preventative Medicine, chromium defeciency is strongly tied to the development and progression of nearsightedness. Chromium is needed for the proper function of the ciliary muscles, the muscles that help the eyes focus. if there isn't enough chromium in our bloodstream, say the researchers, the sustained eye focusing can't be maintained. Because refined carbohydrates, such as white flour, white rice and sugar are very low in chromium, eating a diet composed primarily of these foods can cause a chromium deficiency over time. Along with chromium,it's important to eat foods rich in folic acid and vitimin C as both of thses nutrients work with chromium to promote proper function of ciliar muscles.
This information is not intended to replace the guidance of a health practitioner. Consult your doctor if you are already taking medication