Due to aging and the impact of diseases such as diabetes, there can be problems with the eyes leading to macular degeneration, cataracts, and glaucoma. The good news is that there are easy ways to help the eyes stay healthy, and even reverse the damage by these conditions.
Aging Eyes, Cataracts, and Macular Degeneration
Cataracts are a clouding of the lens of the eye and can severely impact the ability to see clearly. Although it can be treated effectively with surgery, many people are legally blind by the time surgery is done. Taking Vitamin A supplements every day will not only prevent cataracts in most cases, a deficiency of magnesium usually causes this but will often reverse the damage.
Macular Degeneration (MD) is a common breakdown of the eye through the process of aging. The macula is responsible for visual acuity and central vision. In MD, the center of the visual field is blurred, although peripheral vision is usually fine. Lutein is highly concentrated in the macula of the eye, and increased intake can lessen the chances of MD developing.
The following three supplements make a major difference in combating macular degeneration and cataracts.
- Vitamin A
Lutein is an antioxidant of the carotenoid family, and is the yellow-orange pigment in marigolds, egg yolks, carrots, and squash; it is also found in spinach and some leafy green vegetables. In addition to dietary sources, it can also be taken in pill form.
Bilberry, related to the blueberry plant, is full of the flavonoid called ‘anthocyanins,’ which helps rebuild rhodopsin. Rhodopsin is the purple pigment in the rods of the eye that allow for night vision. There is also an unfounded story that RAF pilots in World War 2 would eat bilberry jam to improve their vision when flying night missions.
Vitamin A should be animal sourced (retinol) rather than plant sourced (beta-carotene), as it is better utilized by the body.
Also, selenium, quercetin, rosemary, and catnip tea are all helpful in treating cataracts.
Diets low in fat and high in anti-oxidants are beneficial to the eyes.
Glaucoma is a serious eye condition that can be easily treated if caught early enough. Caused by high intraocular pressure, the goal is reducing the pressure within the eye. Bilberry and rutin are often the two most prescribed natural sourced supplements. Rutin is found in edible pansy flowers, so adding them to a summer salad is a good way to get rutin. Vitamin C also has shown to be effective in lowering intraocular pressure, as have derivatives of Jaborandi, a South American tree.
Of course, there is also enough evidence to believe that medical marijuana is an effective treatment for glaucoma.
Some people just can’t adapt to see at night. Although it can be a sign of more serious eye diseases, it can often be corrected with some simple supplements. Vitamin A, vitamin E, and bilberry should improve night vision. A zinc deficiency can also cause night blindness.
For some people, facing oncoming headlights while driving at night can also hurt the eyes. A deficiency of magnesium usually causes this. It can be corrected by taking magnesium (with calcium) supplement at bedtime each night.