Tips to Maintain and Preserve Your Vision
By Robert Abel, Jr., MD
An Excerpt from HealthyGems: News for a Healthy Lifestyle, Volume 4
The eyes are very special. They are 80% of our orientation to the world. Yet most do not know much about these fragile organs, except to recognize common terms, such as 20/20, lazy eye, wandering eye, cataracts, macular degeneration, etc. This article will attempt to simplify some of the issues and disorders that can happen to eyes. I will also try to teach you to understand your options and treatments.
The eye is essentially a bag of water with two lenses. The front lens is the cornea; the internal lens is called the crystalline lens. It is the crystalline lens that can later become a cataract. These two lenses focus light through the tear film, through the watery aqueous, through the vitreous body (the home of floaters), and on to the retina. The retina, therefore, is impacted by a lot of light, causing the cells to break down and build up, break down and build up, all while sending electrical signals to the brain to be interpreted as vision. The eye has no blood vessels to interfere with the light coming into the retina and the eye is designed to be compact, thus all the nutrition needed is remotely stored in the liver. Therefore, for healthy vision, we need healthy dietary choices, good absorption, good liver function, good circulation, good breathing to provide oxygenation, and a good outlook.
THE FOUR MAIN STRESSORS TO THE EYE ARE:
• The UV component of sunlight
• Poor dietary choices
• Poor lifestyle choices (smoking, excessive drinking, inactivity, contaminated environment, etc.)
• Stress, in general
LET'S TALK ABOUT SOME SPECIFIC THINGS
Macular degeneration. High macular pigment density levels are strongly associated with a reduced risk for macular degeneration. A combination of lutein and DHA has been found to increase macular pigment density greater than either nutrient alone.
In addition to lutein and DHA, you need a good multivitamin. It is important to have vitamins A, C, E, and D with some magnesium, zinc, selenium, and taurine. All of these have some role in retinal function. If you are not obtaining an ample supply of nutrients from your foods and absorbing them, you are going to be deficient. It is important to note that people who take acid-inhibiting drugs for their stomach are at greater risk of developing macular degeneration 20 years down the road.
Cataracts. Early cataract changes can be stopped. Since the lens of the eye has no blood supply or nerves, it is important to drink lots of water, have good levels of vitamin C over 1000 mg a day and have a source of sulfur and selenium to help the body make glutathione peroxidase. MethylSulfonylMethane or MSM (1000 mg), N-Acetyl Cysteine or NAC (600 mg), and alpha lipoic acid also aid in boosting your sulfur levels which help protect the lens. Just because you hear a diagnosis of an eye disease doesn't mean that you necessarily are going to have progression. Look for natural options to improve the situation.
Glaucoma. Optic nerve fibers are lost with glaucoma, usually gradually over a period of time. Most people have the open-angle variety that is picked up on routine eye examinations and not narrowangle (the sudden attack type of glaucoma). Family history may be important. A high intraocular pressure may or may not be associated with the disease, depending on the person's body type and blood pressure. Many people are on high blood pressure medications and, if taken at night, blood pressure will be lowered even further, making them at greater risk. Therefore, if you happen to be hypertensive, it is best to take your medication in the morning, because lying down and relaxing at night will normally lower your blood pressure at a time when eye pressure it at its peak.
For further information on this and other regards, I encourage you to review my book, The Eye Care Revolution, or visit my web site: www.eyeadvisory.com.