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