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As we age, our vision suffers from exposure to natural and unnatural elements in our environment, such as bright light, free radicals, first and second hand smoke. It is also affected by our genetic disposition for eyesight. Many of the diseases associated with deteriorating vision are age-related. They include macular degeneration, cataracts, retinopathy and glaucoma, to name a few.  Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) effects approximately 13 million people in this country and is a primary cause of new blindness for Americans over the age of 65. Macular degeneration is a disease which affects the retina, gradually causing vision loss. A breakdown between the retina and the choroids results in degeneration.  The first symptom of macular degeneration is usually blurred central vision or a large central blind spot. There is no cure, but laser surgery during the early stages of the disease may slow its progression. Risk factors for macular degeneration include advancing age along with genetic predispositions, arteriosclerosis, hypertension and smoking.   Read more below...

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In the last decade or so, there is increasing research that oxidative factors and free radical damage may play an important role in the development of AMD. It has been postulated that treatment with high levels of antioxidants and other nutrients may slow down and possibly reverse some of the effects of macular degeneration.

 

In a study published in the Archives of Ophthalmology from 1988, zinc was found to have some beneficial effect in the treatment of macular degeneration. In a subsequent study published in Archives of Ophthalmology from 1994, the data suggested a protective effect for AMD with high levels of vitamin E along with an antioxidant index composed of ascorbic acid, vitamin E and beta carotene.  Another study published by Seddon in JAMA (1994) indicated that certain carotenoids lowered the risk of AMD by 43%, those specific carotenoids being lutein and zeaxanthin. The most dramatic effect was noted with lutein. Those people taking approximately 6 mg of lutein per day had an amazing 57% lower risk for AMD when compared to those whose consumption was lower (approximately 0.5 mg per day).

 

Bilberry extract has been utilized for many years in Europe for the treatment of various eye conditions, with some studies indicating that it may have beneficial effects for various types of retinopathy, including diabetic retinopathy, retinitis pigmentosa and macular degeneration. Additional nutrients that have been studied and may have benefit for macular degeneration include rutin, flavanoids, taurine and magnesium.

 

Cataracts also seems to be affected by oxidation. Cataracts develop when protein deposits form on the lens of the eye, clouding vision. Common symptoms of cataracts include blurred vision, glare, light sensitivity, frequent eyeglass prescription changes, double vision in one eye, the need for brighter light to read, poor night vision, and the appearance of faded or yellowed colors. Cataracts are extremely common, and happen with most people as they age. They appear more frequently in smokers and those with diabetes.

 

Several epidemiologic studies indicated that patients with the lowest levels of vitamins C, E and carotenoids in their blood were more likely to suffer cataract formation. In one study published in 1997, in a large group of nurses ages 56 to 71, those nurses with the highest intake of vitamin C had a 77% lower prevalence of early lens opacities and an 83% lower prevalence of moderate cataracts compared to women who did not use vitamin C supplementation.

 

A diet rich in antioxidants (Vitamin E and Vitamin C especially) may help prevent or delay the formation of cataracts, as oxidative damage appears to be a cause of their development.

 

Glaucoma is the name for a group of diseases that can lead to optic nerve damage, ultimately resulting in blindness if not treated. More than three million Americans suffer from glaucoma. Often, glaucoma has progressed dramatically before it is noticed. The best way to detect early glaucoma symptoms is through regular eye exams and a test to determine how much pressure is being exerted on the eye.  The first noticeable symptom of glaucoma is usually "tunnel vision" ? a lack of vision of items that are not directly in front of the eyes. While not curable, glaucoma can be treated via daily medication which helps lower pressure in the eye, laser surgery to drain built-up fluid, or conventional surgery creating a new opening from which fluid can drain. Several nutrients have been shown to be of value in glaucoma, including magnesium, alpha lipoic acid, vitamins C and B12.

 

Nutrient Facts and Recommendations:

Since oxidative damage of the eye can cause macular degeneration and/or cataracts, taking antioxidants may lower the occurrence of these diseases. People with high levels of Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and Selenium appear to have a 70% lower risk of developing macular degeneration.

  • Vitamin C is the most commonly found antioxidant in the eyes. Since levels of Vitamin C appear to decrease with age, supplements are recommended, and appear to decrease the likelihood of developing cataracts. It also reduces elevated pressure in the eye. It must be taken in large doses ? often up to 20 grams daily ? and is not a cure for glaucoma.

  • Lutein, an antioxidant found in spinach and kale, works extremely well in protecting the retina against sunlight damage. Supplementation with 6 mg of Lutein daily may decrease the occurrence of macular degeneration by more than 50%.

  • Zinc is needed by the retina to create enzymes needed for vision. 80 mg of Zinc daily may decrease vision loss rate in patients with macular degeneration.

  • Bilberry, which is similar to blueberries, is high in anthocyanosides, which protect they eye?s lens from oxidative damage. It also helps the eyes to better adapt to both bright and low lighting. Bilberry contains compounds which act as antioxidants in the retina, making it a possible preventive measure for macular degeneration. It also strengthens capillaries in the retina and reduces hemorrhaging.

  • A B-Complex vitamin also appears effective in protecting the eyes. Vitamin B2 deficiency has been linked to the development of cataracts. When Vitamins B2 and B3 are taken daily, the incidence of cataracts decreases.

  • Quercetin helps to block the accumulation of sorbitol in the eye, and is especially helpful in the prevention of cataracts in patients with diabetes.

  • Vitamin A, a major source of Beta-carotene, has also been shown to reduce the risk of cataracts. Lutein, a similar nutrient, acts in the same manner.

  • Alpha lipoic acid, taken in a dose of 150 mg daily for 30 days, has been shown to improve vision in patients with glaucoma.                                 (This article provided by VitaCost.com)

Wellness Plans for Eye Health

  • Well balance diet emphasizing fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Diet rich in antioxidants, especially Vitamin C and E
  • Control potential health problem such as high blood pressure and diabetes
  • Have you eye exam yearly

Recommended Supplements for Eye Health (Click links above to purchase individual supplements from online stores)

(Essential in bold)

  Vitamins, Minerals and Trace Elements
  ? Vitamin A   ? Vitamin C
  ? Vitamin D   ? Vitamin E
  ? Beta Carotene   ? Copper
  ? Ester-C Vitamin   ? Niacin
  ? Riboflavin   ? Selenium
  ? Zinc  
  Nutritional Supplements
  ? CoEnzyme Q10   ? DHEA
  ? Inositol   ? Lutein
  ? Lycopene   ? L-Lysine
  ? SAM-e
  Natural Food and Herbal Supplements
  ? Bilberry Extract   ? EPA Fish Oil
  ? Eyebright   ? Gingko Biloba
  ? Grape Seed Extract   ? Pycnogenol

 

Read Related Links on Eye Health

  1. Eye Diseases (General) - Great resources links provided by the National Library of Medicine

  2. Eye Problem: Self-Care Flowcharts - provided by the American Academy of Family Physicians

  3. Saving Your Sight - Early Detection is Critical -  provided by the US Food and Drug Administration

  4. How to Protect and Care for Your Eyes - provided by the American Medical Women's Association

  5. Frequently Asked Questions About Low Vision - information provides by the National Eye Institute  

  6. The Visual System -publication by The Eye Institute of the National Institute of Health

  7. Healthy Eating Tips- information provided by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention

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Information on this site is provided for informational purposes and is not meant to substitute for the advice provided by your own physician or other medical profession. You should not use the information contained herein for diagnosing or treating a problem or disease, or prescribing any medication. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, promptly contact your health care provider.  Information and statements regarding dietary supplements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.  Please review the Terms of Use before using this site.  Your use of the site indicates your agreement to be bound by the Terms of Use.

 

PRODUCT INDEX & INFO.

Vitamins & Minerals

Beta Carotene
Biotin Vitamins
Boron Supplements
Calcium Supplements

Children's Vitamins
Choline Supplements
Chromium Supplements
Copper Supplements
Coral Calcium Supplements
Ester C Vitamins
Folic Acid Supplements

Iodine Supplements
Iron Supplements
Magnesium Supplements
Manganese Supplements

Molybdenum
Multi-Vitamins/Minerals
Niacin Vitamins
Pantothenic Acid
Phosphorus Supplements
Potassium Supplements
Riboflavin Vitamins
Selenium Vitamins
Silicon
Sodium
Thiamine Vitamins
Vanadium Supplements
Vitamin A
Vitamin B12
Vitamin B6
Vitamin C
Vitamin D
Vitamin E
Vitamin K
Zinc Supplements

 

Nutritional Supplements

Acidophilus Supplements

Caprylic Acid

Chondroitin

Coenzyme Q10 Supplement

DHEA Supplements

Glucosamine Supplements

Inositol Vitamins

L-Carnitine Supplements

L-Lysine

Lecithin Supplements

Lutein Vitamins

Lycopene Supplements

Melatonin Supplements

MSM Supplements

NAC Vitamins

SAM-e Supplements

 

Natural Food Supplements

Alfalfa Supplements

Aloe Vera

Bee Pollen

Blue Green Algae

Brewer's Yeast

Bromelain

EPA Fish Oil

Flaxseed Oil Supplements

Garlic Supplements

Grape Seed Extract

Horse Chestnut

Pycnogenol

Royal Jelly

Shark Cartilage

Soy Isoflavones

 

Natural Herbs

Andrographis Paniculata

Astragalus

Bilberry Extract

Black Cohosh

Boswellia

Burdock

Butcher's Broom

Cascara Sagrada

Cat's Claw

Cayenne  Pepper

Devil's Claw

Dong Quai Root

Echinacea

Elderberry

Evening Primrose Oil

Eyebright

Feverfew

Fo-Ti

Ginger Root

Ginkgo Biloba

Ginseng Root

Goldenseal Root

Gotu Kola

Green Tea Extract

Hawthorn Berry

Kava Extract

Licorice

Maitake Mushroom

Milk Thistle

Nettle

Red Clover

Saw Palmetto

Scullcap

St. John's Wort

Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca Oil)

Turmeric

Valerian Root

Yohimbe Bark

 


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