Learn More About Vision Support
1. What is Vision Support and how can we protect our Vision?
Do you remember how crisp and beautiful objects looked years ago? Do you now find that your vision is fading or not as sharp? As we age, our vision weakens. There is a number of factors including in part to degeneration of nerve cells in the eyes. We lose our ability to notice fine details and differentiate subtle shades of colors or texture.
After years of study on individuals who take vision pills and trying various herbs and nutrients, we are now aware of many vision support supplements that have a positive effect on vision. Many nutrients can help restore, at least partially, the magic of seeing that some of you may have long forgotten existed. After you try some of the vision supplements listed below, you may even take a vision test on a Snellen chart to see if your vision is better.
2. Can certain Vision problems be halted or reversed and what scientific studies give evidence to support this?
Although nutrition plays a big role in overcoming eye-diseases, remember that good vision habits and relaxation can go a long way in relieving symptoms, thereby already improving vision naturally. The natural approach to eyesight improvement has no negative side effects. Actually it has many beneficial side effects and it is cheaper. Also, in my opinion, it gives great results, it just takes a little patience and persistence. Keep in mind, it's always best not to wait for your vision to deteriorate or develop eye problems and then having to reverse the damage. As I mentioned, good nutrition is important, but can't stand on its own. A truly healthy lifestyle involves a healthy diet as well as providing exercise, fresh air, clean water, adequate rest and sleep, sunshine, and a sense of purpose.
Certain nutrients are key for neutralizing the negative effects of free radicals and it is these exact nutrients that have shown promising results in clinical studies to prevent and even sometimes reverse ocular damage associated with age related vision disorders.
The Age Related Eye Disease Study was a clinical trial sponsored by the National Eye Institute, one of the National Institutes of Health in the United States. It examined the effects of high dose antioxidant therapy for macular degeneration and cataracts. The study evaluated 3,600 people over the course of about 4 years and determined that antioxidants such as Vitamin C, zinc, beta carotene, lutein, and Vitamin E reduced certain risks of progression and development of macular degeneration by as much as 25%.
A recent Harvard study demonstrated the importance of two different antioxidants in protecting the eye from light damage by measuring the amount of damage induced in the retina of Chinese quail given a diet deficient in lutein and zeaxanthin. Animals that were supplemented with lutein and zeaxanthin sustained far less injury to their retina when exposed to higher intensity light. Chinese quail were chosen because their retinas concentrate similar concentrations of lutein and zeaxanthin and are most similar to human retinas when compared with other animals.
In a recent study in the journal Optometry, symptoms were reversed in 60 patients who took 10 milligrams of lutein daily for a year. "Some patients had an actual disappearance of holes in their vision and an improvement in distortions in their central vision," says lead study author Stuart Richer, O.D., Ph.D, an optometrist at North Chicago VA Medical Center. Even adults with healthy eyes can protect their vision by loading up on lutein, says Richer. "Ten milligrams of lutein can be found in two ounces of spinach, 45 percent of which is bioavailable," he says, listing kale and collard greens as other good sources.
Eating a diet rich in natural antioxidants and high in lutein and zeaxanthin is a great way to improve eye health.
Here are some foods which are known to be high in zeaxanthin, listed in order from highest to least (>100mcg/100g serving), according to the Lutein and Zeaxanthin Scientific Review:
- Pepper, orange, raw...1608
- Corn, sweet, yellow, canned...528
- Persimmons, Japanese, raw...488
- Corn, frozen, cooked...375
- Spinach, raw...331
- Turnip greens, cooked...267
- Collard greens, cooked...266
- Lettuce. cos or romaine, raw...187
- Spinach, cooked...179
- Kale, cooked...173
- Tangerine, mandarin...142
Supplementation is also an excellent way to improve levels of these important nutrients and protect your eyes. Here are some vision related supplements to consider:
Grape Seed Extract: A great source for powerful antioxidants known as oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs). OPCs are highly effective antioxidants that scavenge free oxygen radicals more effectively than Vitamins C and E. Studies have shown OPCs to be effective in limiting cataract progression and in treating/preventing glaucoma and other types of retinal disease.
Vitamin A: Vitamin A promotes healthy surface linings of the eyes and the respiratory, urinary, and intestinal tracts. When those linings break down, it becomes easier for bacteria to enter the body and cause infection. Vitamin A also helps the skin and mucous membranes function as a barrier to bacteria and viruses.
Bilberry: The benefit of bilberry rests mostly on its ability to provide substances that are beneficial for eye health. Bilberry may benefit those who have macular degeneration or are predisposed to a cataract. Phenolic compounds in bilberry are of benefit as antioxidants.
Vitamin C: serves as an excellent antioxidant and could protect various cells and tissues in the body, including brain cells and cells in the eye. The eye is highly susceptible to damage by sunlight, oxygen, various chemicals, and pollutants.
Beta-carotene: A precursor of vitamin A. It also has anti-oxidant properties and may help in preventing cancer and other diseases. It's part of a family of chemicals called the carotenoids, which are found in many fruit and vegetables, as well as some animal products such as egg yolks.
Eyebright: This is the name of a group of plants belonging to the figwort family. They have whitish flowers streaked with purple. The name indicates their traditional use as an eye-medicine. Just like many plants, eyebright herb has flavonoids and some tannins.
Ginkgo Biloba: May help reduce the risk for cataracts as shown in a rat study. Ginkgo biloba may help preserve vitamin E levels.
Alpha Lipoic Acid: Lipoic acid can regenerate vitamin C from its oxidized form, dehydroascorbic acid. Lipoic acid can also potentially regenerate other antioxidants. Lipoic acid increases the levels of glutathione, a very important antioxidant normally found in our cells and responsible for mopping up all types of toxins and free radicals. Lipoic acid also acts as a powerful antioxidant in the brain and is likely to protect brain cells from toxins.
Quercetin: often occurs in plants as glycosides, such as Rutin (quercetin rutinoside) in tea. Quercetin and rutin are used in many countries as vasoprotectants and are ingredients of numerous multivitamin preparations and herbal remedies.
Fish Oils: The most prominent of these fatty acids in the eye is an omega-3 fatty acid called DHA. Omega-3 oils, generally found in fish and flaxseed, enhance visual perception.
3. What are some of the best healthy habits for maintaining good Vision?
Protect Your Eyes With Sunglasses: Harmful ultraviolet light from the sun causes several known conditions to occur in the eye. Sunlight has been shown to speed up the development of cataracts and macular degeneration. It can also cause abnormal thickening or growths to form on the white part of the eye. Especially at risk are people who spend long hours in the sun, who have had cataract surgery or who are taking certain medications such as tranquilizers, tetracycline and diuretics.
Do Not Smoke: Smoking can cause you to develop cataracts and increases your risk for developing macular degeneration. People who smoke, have a poor diet and drink alcohol are prone to an optic nerve condition that can produce profound vision loss. Smoking is also a major irritant to patients with dry eye syndrome.
Limit Alcoholic Beverages: Drinking alcohol dehydrates the body, including the eyes. Dry eye symptoms are much more likely to develop if you drink alcohol. Drinking large quantities of alcohol may cause nutritional problems and may lead to toxic amblyopia, an optic nerve disease.
Keep Blood Sugar Within Healthy Limits: Continually challenging your body with foods that are rich in fat and sugar can put you at risk for developing large blood sugar fluctuations and eventually, diabetes. If you already have diabetes, keeping your blood sugar levels stable can prevent or delay the onset of diabetic eye diseases including diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and cataracts. Blood sugar fluctuations can also make the natural lens inside the eye swell, resulting in large prescription changes. You may be nearsighted one day, then farsighted the next. When this occurs, a possible diagnosis of diabetes is usually considered.
Keep Blood Pressure and Cholesterol Under Control: High blood pressure can lead to hypertensive retinopathy, a condition that left untreated can result in blindness. In addition, high blood pressure has been found to increase your risk for eye diseases such as diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and macular degeneration. High blood pressure in addition to high cholesterol places you at risk for developing a stroke or a central retinal artery occlusion. Strokes affecting one side of the brain often produce large blind spots in your vision. A central retinal artery occlusion is a "stroke to the eye" and usually produces profound vision loss.
Eat Antioxidant-Rich Foods: Foods containing antioxidants along with zinc have been shown to delay the progression of advanced macular degeneration by 25%. Although studies are controversial, antioxidants are believed to also delay cataract formation. Other nutrients, such as Vitamin A, play a vital role in good retinal health and aid in both color and night vision. Lutein and zeaxanthin, both carotenoid nutrients, have also shown positive side effects in macular degeneration patients. Omega-3 fatty acids were shown to help prevent recurrent styes and improve dry eye symptoms.
Have Regular Eye Examinations: Having a regular eye examination promotes eye health. It is easy to do, cost-effective and you might just learn a thing or two. Serious eye conditions are usually detected before vision or eye health is impacted. Regular eye exams also allow your doctor to measure your vision so that changes can be made to your prescription, ensuring your best possible vision. Your doctor will look deep inside of your eyes, checking for any signs of disease. Many eye diseases, if detected early enough, can be treated successfully without significant vision loss.
Original Research Article by: © 1998-2007.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.