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Nearsightedness & Eye Health

 You may find some relief for nearsightedness, and certainly help prevent progression, by not keeping your eyes focused at a fixed distance for too long at a time (such as looking at computer screens or reading). Take frequent breaks for your eyes by looking at a distant obects for a couple of minutes and then look up close and back in the distance a few times.


Some people, including this author, have found some improvement for difficulty focusing up close with exercises such as those suggested by Dr. Deepak Chopra.  See:

Deepak Chopra's Eye Exercises

Food recommendations for eyesight and eye health:

Cold water fish (sardines, cod, mackerel, tuna.) - Cold water fish are an excellent source of DHA, which provides structural support to cell membranes, and is recommended for dry eyes, treatment for macular degeneration, and sight preservation.

Spinach, kale and green leafy vegetables - These plants are rich in carotenoids, especially lutein and zeaxathin. Lutein, a yellow pigment, protects the macula from sun damage and from blue light.

Eggs - Eggs are rich in cysteine, sulfur, lecithin, amino acids and lutein. Sulfur-containing compounds protect the lens of the eye from cataract formation.

Garlic, onions, shallots and capers - This items are also rich in sulfur, which is necessary for the production of glutathione, an important antioxidant for the lens of the eye, and the whole body.

Fruits and vegetables - Our mothers always told us about these -- they were right. Fruits and vegetables contain vitamin A, C, and E and Beta-carotene. The yellow vegetables, such as carrots and squash, are important for daytime vision.

Dark berries - Dark berries such as blueberries, blackberries, and cherries, are high in flavonoids and contain anthocyanins, which improve night vision. A cup full of blueberries, huckleberry jam, or a 100 mg bilberry supplement should improve dark adaptation within 30 minutes.

Wine Wine, known to have a cardioprotective effect, has many important nutrients, which protect vision, heart and blood flow. Needless to say, moderation is always important.

Nuts and berries - These are nature's most concentrated food sources. Grains, such as flaxseed, are high in the beneficial Omega-3 fatty acids, which help lower cholesterol and stabilize cell membranes.

Virgin olive oil - This is a mono-unsaturated oil, and is a healthy alternative to butter and margarine.

Top Supplements For Sight

* Vitamin A - Vitamin A is known as the ultimate eye vitamin, Vitamin A is absolutely essential for eye and vision health. In our bodies, vitamin A is required by the retina for its proper functions - in fact, one of the two sources of dietary vitamin A goes by the name "retinoids."

The other source is carotenoids, obtained from fruits and vegetables containing yellow, orange, and dark green pigments, including that old standby, beta-carotene. When Mom told you to eat your carrots for good vision, she wasn't kidding!

Vitamin A is necessary for the production of rhodopsin, the visual pigment used in low light levels. One of the causes of night blindness is vitamin A deficiency; supplements of that vitamin are often recommended for those with poor night vision, along with a diet emphasizing Vitamin A-rich foods, such as sweet potatoes, carrots, mangoes, spinach, and cantaloupe.

Vitamin A also helps:

Your eyes adjust to light changes

Moistens the eyes, which can enhance visual acuity

It has been shown to prevent the forming of cataracts

It has been shown to help prevent blindness from macular degeneration.

* Vitamin C - Vitamin C is an important structural component to strengthen capillaries and build collagen. It maintains the shape of the cornea, especially in cases of infection, and supports the fight against free radicals throughout the body. Vitamin C is the second most common antioxidant in the lens, and prevents cataracts from developing, whether due to sunlight exposure or other oxidative stresses.

* Vitamin E - Because of its antioxidant action, vitamin E helps protect against cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. A clinical study has showed that taking vitamin E can cut the risk of developing cataracts in half. Another study also showed that the combination of vitamins C and E had a protective effect against UV rays.

The richest source of vitamin E is wheat germ. Dark green leafy vegetables (such as spinach, kale, and collard greens), sweet potatoes, avocado, asparagus, and yams are also good sources of vitamin E.

* B Complex vitamins - These vitamins are necessary for nerve function. The retinal receptor cells send all their messages through nerve fibers into the optic nerve, and into the brain. These vitamins maintain many nerve and general body activities. B-12 is especially important, as it is the most common deficiency in elderly individuals. 1000 mg of B-12, sublingually (under the tongue) a day is recommended for people with optic nerve disease or glaucoma.

* Lutein - Lutein, found in our retinas, is essential for healthy vision. Lutein and a related dietary carotenoid, zeaxanthin, accumulate within the retina and imbue a yellow pigment that helps protect the eye. It lowers the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration (low lutein intake is implicated as a risk factor in age-related macular degeneration), and may also help to prevent or slow down atherosclerosis.

* Lutein is found in the red, orange, and yellow pigments of fruits and vegetables; for example, tomatoes, carrots, and squash. Green leafy vegetables such as spinach also contain high amounts of lutein. The concentration of these two is so high in the macula (the retinal region responsible for fine visual activities), that the carotenoids are visible as a dark yellow spot, called the macular pigment, in normal, healthy retinas. They act like sunglass filters to protect the eye.

* Alpha Lipoic Acid This is a very important nerve stabilizer and is helpful in diabetics, and in patients with glaucoma, to protect their remaining optic nerve fibers.

* Lutein Lutein and other carotenoids are very important in the eye. We know that carrots are good for day vision and lutein and zeaxanthin are important in protecting the central retina (the macula) from blue and ultraviolet light. Studies have shown that oral administration of lutein, or eating spinach, can increase the level of lutein in the retina. This is especially important for people with age-related macular degeneration.

* DHA - Dicosahexaenoic acid (DHA), with six unsaturated double bonds, comprises 30 percent of the good fat that is in the retina, brain and adrenal gland. The primary source for this is algae and cold water fish such as tuna, mackerel, salmon and sardines. DHA has been used as a supplement to infant formulas to improve visual performance in the first year of life, as well as emotional and physical development. People have found that following objects at a distance, driving and hand/eye coordination have all been improved with the use of this important fat, that stabilizes cell membranes throughout the body.

* N-Acetyl Cysteine This is the primary component in the production of glutathione. Glutathione is produced and released by the liver, and is the major antioxidant in the lens of the eye. Cellular enzymes -- glutathione reductase, super oxide dismutase and catalase, are the primary free radical-fighting potions inside our cells. Glutathione helps fortify these and protect many structures throughout the body while removing toxins from the body.

* Magnesium Magnesium is important in nerve conduction and it dilates blood vessels. Magnesium at bedtime, 400-500 mg, is important for maintaining blood flow to the eye and brain in elderly individuals with macular degeneration or diabetes, at a time of decreased blood pressure because they are lying down. Magnesium and B-12 deficiencies are the two most common deficiencies in the elderly.

* Chromium This is important in regulation of blood sugar. The best form is Glucose Transfer Factor Chromium (GTF Chromium).

Selenium - Selenium is a trace mineral that our bodies need to boost immunity and fight off infections and it is an important co-factor for vitamin E and iodine, as well as glutathione reductase.

* Zinc - Our eyes actually contain the greatest concentration of zinc in our body. This essential element is required for the conversion of beta-carotene into vitamin A. Zinc plays a role in many enzymes present in the retina. It can also help prevent cataracts and macular degeneration by acting as an antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals that can damage the eye's lens and macula; studies have identified low selenium levels in cataract sufferers. Oysters contain more zinc per serving than any other food, but red meat and poultry provide the majority of zinc in the American diet. Supplementation of more than 30 mg zinc daily requires adding 2 mg of copper.

* Gingko biloba - This herb has been used for millennia for eye and central nervous system problems. It is known to be a selective cerebro-vascular dilator and seems to increase circulation to the back of the eye. It is becoming an adjunct in the treatment of macular degeneration and glaucoma. Although there are no critical studies that show a definite scientific value, there are many reports about its increasing blood flow to the eye.

* Coleus forskohlii, Pilocarpus jaborandi, and Triphala - These have been recommended for patients with glaucoma to lower intra ocular pressure via parasympathetic relaxation of the body. Triphala (composes of Emblica officinaliis, Terminalia belerica and Terminalis chebula) has long been known in Ayurvedic medicine for the treatment of glaucoma. It is interesting that its mild laxative effect brings about a generalizing calming feeling, which is so important for glaucoma individuals, to reduce stress. Magnesium and B-12 are also important for these individuals with chronic glaucoma.

* Silymarin - This is the primary component of milk thistle. Silymarin is a major liver support and is the only known treatment for chronic active hepatitis and for alcoholic cirrhosis. Theliver is the key organ for the eye, since all the fat soluble vitamins and glutathione are stored there. The B vitamins are activated in the liver. The eye is subjected to bright light throughout the day and the important ingredients for repair are stored in the liver. When the liver is overburdened, eyesight will be compromised.

* Bilberry and Bioflavonoids Bilberry is thought to improve night vision. A close relative of the cranberry, bilberry is high in a certain type of bioflavonoid that speeds the regeneration of rhodopsin, the purple pigment used by the eyes' rods. British air force pilots in World War II ate bilberry jam to improve their night vision during evening sorties.

* Copper is an essential trace element that is required for the proper formation of collagen, a component of the connective tissues. It is found in various foods, including organ meats (especially liver), seafood, beans, nuts, and whole grains. Copper gluconate, a readily absorbable form of copper, is one of the most important blood antioxidants, helping to keep cell membranes healthy and aiding red blood cells to produce hemoglobin.

* Eyebright has been used for centuries to treat eye irritation. Its Greek name, Euphrasia, comes from Euphrosyne, one of the three Graces, who was distinguished for her joy and mirth. The name is thought to have been given the plant because of its valuable properties as an eye medicine that preserved eyesight and so brought gladness into the life of the sufferer.

* Glutathione is an amino acid that protects the tissues surrounding the lens of the eyes. According to Web MD, "It also has potentially widespread health benefits because it can be found in all types of cells, including the cells of the immune system, whose job is to fight disease."

Numerous studies link glutathione with the prevention of cataracts, glaucoma, retinal disease, and diabetic blindness. Foods that increase glutathione levels include sulfur-rich foods such as garlic, eggs, asparagus, and onions, and glutathione-rich foods such as watermelon, asparagus, and grapefruits.

* Rutin - Rutin is considered to be an important nutritional supplement because of its ability to strengthen capillaries

Click here to visit our CureZone Health Forum: Ask Tony Isaacs: Featuring Luella May– Natural Health, Cancer, Longevity and Home & Herbal Remedies.


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