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Eyes

Eye Health

As the population of the Western world ages eye health is an issue we all need to be aware of; it is important that we do all that we can to help keep our eyes healthy as we age. Factors such as smoking, obesity and poor diet can all impact adversely on eye health. A diet containing a range of antioxidants can play an important role in supporting eye health.  Supplements can help safeguard dietary intake of key protective nutrients including zinc, selenium, vitamin C, vitamins A and E, and the natural pigments lutein, zeaxanthin, and astaxanthin which  may help protect the eye from light damage. The carotenoids from green vegetables e.g. kelp, spinach are important to reduce risks of macular degeneration and possibly cataracts. Ageing of the blood vessels in the eye can increase risks of neuropathy and degeneration.  Research indicates that clarity of vision can relate to build up of toxins in the retina which affect the nerve transmission. Higher dietary levels of fish or fish oil supplements with high levels of DHA may be supportive. The retina has a high concentration of DHA.

Many common eye infections are either helped or prevented by Vitamin A which has antibacterial functions for skin and eye tissues. Dry eyes may be relieved with fatty acid supplementation and this could be due the increase in Vitamin A absorption that results.

Macular degeneration is a disorder that affects central vision  and the macula is a paper-thin tissue at the back of the eye where light-sensitive cells send visual signals to the brain, and is responsible for detailed vision. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD or ARMD) is the most common eye disease for those over the age of 50. Age – macular degeneration increases with age

  • Race – although macular degeneration occurs in all races, it is more common in Caucasian individuals

  • Gender – women have been found to be at higher risk of macular degeneration

  • Family history – it has also been found that macular degeneration tends to be hereditary

  • Exposure to sunlight

  • High blood pressure

  • Smoking

  • Obesity

  • Drug side effects

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    There is no cure for macular degeneration but some treatments may help to improve vision or delay the progression of symptoms of macular degeneration. Treatment does depend on the stage of the disease – whether macular degeneration is in the early stage, dry form or more advanced wet form.

    Conventional treatments for dry macular degeneration may include nutritional supplementation such as Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Caretenoids with Zinc and antioxidants to prevent free radicals or unstable oxygen from damaging the retina. Lutein and zeanthenin are considered the most helpful caretenoids and should transform to meso-zeanthin in the eye. In addition, Bilberry or other nutrients/herbs that assist blood flow(and hence nutrients) in the capillary feed of nutrients could help. The wet form of macular degeneration can lead to serious vision loss but there are various laser treatment options such as photodynamic therapy  and available to lessen the vision loss in the early stages.

Bloodshot Eyes

Usually the result of eyestrain, an infection, or  fatigue eyes become bloodshot when the small vessels on the surface of the eye become inflamed and congested., This occurs as a result of nutritional deficiencies  and the key nutrients include vitamin A, B2 and B6 and the amino acids, histidine, lysine and phenylalanine. Bloodshot eyes may also indicate capillary fragility or high blood pressure.

Blurred Vision

Chronic blurring may be the result of an inadequate supply of the light-sensitive pigment in the eye called rhodopsin, or visual purple, which is made from vitamin A and protein, or the cause may be from a deficiency of a component of the essential fatty acid Omega 3 derivative DHA. This may also help dry eyes.