Holistic Guide to EyeCare and Eye Conditions
Eye supplements are one of the more popular choices for people trying to improve the quality of their vision and care for their eyes. The reason for this is that there are many options for those looking to deal with common eye ailments. Vision is vital, and this too causes people to want to protect their eyesight.
New research is suggesting that many eye problems are preventable or at least that you can take steps to reduce the time of onset or symptoms. You are not powerless, nor do you have to just accept poor vision because you are getting older.
There are conditions such as macular degeneration are hereditary, that also affect the eyes. If an older family member has it, chances are that you will get it as well. However, genetics don’t have to be a death sentence for your eyesight either.
You may be surprised at what vision supplements can do to not only improve, but also to prevent certain conditions.
Vision Supplements Can Help With the Following Eye Conditions:
When the lens of the eye develops a grayish cloudy area, the most common reason is cataracts. Symptoms include fuzzy vision, light sensitivity and glare distortion. The only permanent solution for cataracts is surgical removal. However, there are a number of vision supplements that can also help with preventing them from forming. The sooner you take them, the more likely they are to be effective.
Research has shown the following eye supplements as promising in aiding with symptoms of cataracts or preventing them:
- Vitamin A (Beta-Carotene)
- Chondroitin Sulfate
- Fish Oil
- Hyaluronic Acid
- Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)
- Vitamin B3 (Niacin / Niacinamide)
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
A condition that can damage your eyes optic nerve, Glaucoma often gets worse over time. As the nerve gets more damaged, pressure is built up behind the eye, which then causes additional damage to the intraocular area of the eye and the optic nerve. This condition is hereditary, usually not showing up until much later in life.
There are a number of treatments for Glaucoma including laser eye surgery and lasik. Additionally, symptoms of Glaucoma may fade and then come back over time. For this reason, it is important to incorporate vision supplements. The earlier you are diagnosed with Glaucoma, the easier it is to fend off symptoms.
The following eye supplements have been found helpful in dealing with symptoms and treating glaucoma:
- Alpha-Lipoic Acid
- Ginkgo Biloba
This condition is where the cone of the eye pushes outward from outer lens, creating a coning shape to the cornea of the eye. This happens because the collagen that normally keeps the cornea in the correct dome-like shape and placement weaken. When they are not strong enough to hold the shape, the cornea bulges through progressively over time, exacerbating the problem.
Like most eye problems, Keratoconus is hereditary and generally doesn’t become an issue until later in life. Lack of treatment can cause the cornea to break, with severe scarring as the result. Taking care of your body before and giving it the vision supplements that it needs early on can help to prevent the collagen breakdown and Keratoconus from progressing.
The following eye supplements can help prevent progression of Keratoconus:
- B Complex Vitamins
- Vitamin A (Beta-Carotne)
- Vitamin D2
- Vitamin K
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids
The most common cause for blindness in people over the age of 50 Macular Degeneration, which comes in two forms: dry and wet. The determination of what kind you have is made by your ophthalmologist. Both can have debilitating effects on a person. This is partially because there is no cure for the disease. Also, because there isn’t sufficient evidence as to what causes the problem in the first place.
Macular Degeneration affects nearly 4 million Americans every year. It is known to be hereditary, caused by a recessive gene. Some forms of Macular Degeneration is passed on through female offspring only. Generally, onset of the disease will begin after 50. There is promising laser therapies that are able to breakdown blood vessels and to prevent symptoms from getting worse.
Since there is no cure and the disease is hereditary, it is important to begin taking vision supplements early in life. Additionally, it is important to protect your eyes from UV light.
The following following eye supplements have been shown to help if you have Macular Degeneration, as well as to prevent onset:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin A (Beta-Carotene)
This is a common condition, also referred to as farsightedness. In fact, it is considered one of the most common problems for Americans over 40 regarding vision. In truth, there are a few forms of farsighted conditions, but this is one of the ones that can specifically be an issue for those that didn’t have vision problems earlier in life. This is because this condition is caused by age specifically and unlike typical farsightedness, Presbyopia affects the way that light refracts into the eyeball when the lens itself loses flexibility.
You may notice the symptoms of Presbyopia if you are over the age of 35, get migraines or headaches after reading or working on the computer, have blurry vision when reading and need to hold material farther than normal to be able to read print.
Presbyopia is the progressively diminished ability to be able to see far away, caused from the stretching ability of the lens to the eye. Over time it gets over stretched and vision becomes worse.
One of the best things that you can do to prevent Presbyopia is to take care of your eyes from an early age. Of course, that doesn’t mean that you’re too late to start. The sooner is always better for vision supplements! Because it is a natural aging process for the eyes, you can practice good habits like wearing UV protective sunglasses and wearing the correct glasses when you first notice symptoms. There is a procedure called KAMRA Inlay that is now also showing progress. The FDA has approved the implant and it is said that it can assist with close vision.
The following vision supplements are also helpful at preventing or alleviating certain symptoms of Presbyopia:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin A (Beta-Carotene)
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids
A Closer Look at Vision Supplements
Listed below are additional vision supplements that have been researched and shown to have at least some promising benefits. The FDA generally doesn’t approve supplements because they are not considered medicine. Talk to your ophthalmologist or primary care provider about any new vision supplements that you add into your diet beforehand.
Vitamins for Healthy Eyes
You will notice that when doctors recommend eye supplements, they often include standard vitamins such as Vitamin A, B Complex Vitamins and Vitamin K. You will notice throughout this guide that you are referred back to specific ones that either treat certain conditions or fall under another eye supplement category.
Most people can get the recommended doses of vitamins for eye health through a daily multi-vitamin. Popular brands often include additional minerals and compounds that are helpful for eyesight as well. Try to look for a multivitamin with Lycopene and Omega-3 Fatty Acids.
That being said, if you are concerned about your future eyesight, chances are that there are a few additional supplements for eyes that you can take. If you have a hereditary condition such as Macular Degeneration, you will also want to begin taking supplements before you ever have a problem in order to prevent the possibility of your symptoms progressing as you get older.
Additionally, before adding additional vitamins to your diet through individual supplementation (as in taking an extra Vitamin A pill on top of your multivitamin), you want to be sure to check with a professional before as well. Most vitamins are safe if you take too many. However, there are a number that can cause complications if you take too many, as the body can’t process them.
Antioxidants are known to protect the body from free radicals which can help with elasticity, muscle strength and the maintenance of connective tissue. For this reason, people often look to antioxidants when they are looking for eye supplements. Most antioxidants work together to some extent. Their regenerative properties can be compounded when you take in antioxidants from multiple sources.
Specifically for eye care, you will want to be sure to include the following antioxidants in your diet:
A common vitamin, vitamin C is also a super handy eye supplement as well. Most people don’t think of it even as an antioxidant, but it is! The good news is that you can’t take too much of it either. This is one of the water soluble vitamins that the body can break down. So, even if you have some in your multivitamin and then get more from another source, the body will just express out any excess through the waste process. (Yes, this means it comes out in your pee).
Vitamin C reduces the risks for cataracts and can prevent vision loss that commonly is associated with Macular Degeneration. To get the benefits of this vitamin, you do normally need to take more than the standard recommended doses. Discuss the ideal amount with your provider before, as different amounts seem to be more or less effective for certain conditions.
Bioflavonoids is actually the more popular term for an obscure vitamin. Vitamin P is a compound of chemical components that come together (rutin, flavones, flavonoids, hesperidin, catechin, citrin and quercetin) to do a function. Because there are many parts to it, Vitamin P is often referred to as bioflavonoids instead.
Bioflavonoids are often recommended to be taken with Vitamin C. This is because the two work together. Bioflavonoids strengthen the capillaries in the eyes by permanently strengthening the lining. This increases permeability and integrity, causing improved function and better eyesight.
Like Vitamin C, bioflavonoids are absorbed in the stomach and have a similar process. However, bioflavonoids work alongside Vitamin C and even require enough of it in the system to do their job. For this reason, it’s a good idea to take both eye supplements together so that they will be effective at the optimal levels.
Alpha-Lipoic Acid (ALA)
Alpha-Lipoic Acid (ALA) works in two ways to help the eyes. On one hand it can help the body process insulin, which is beneficial for those with diabetes. Diabetes is a leading cause of blindness in America, so treating the disease can help to aid in the symptoms that affect the eyes. Additionally, it is a powerful antioxidant that helps to fight cell damage due to aging, which can also cause visual problems for many people after the age of 50.
Chondroitin Sulfate works in a number of beneficial ways for the eyes as a vision supplement. First, it helps to stabilize the cell membrane, which is essential for those with dry eye conditions. Additionally it coats the corneal endothelium, which increases visual function in the eye.
It is important to note that you can take too much of this vision supplement, especially if you already have included it in your regime for an arthritis treatment. If you have multiple conditions that it is helpful for, it is best to discuss the amount to take with your doctor beforehand.
Lutein and Zeaxanthin
There are many carotenoids in the body, only two are found in the eye. Lutein and Zeaxanthin are both found in the retina, a place on the body that has one of the most highest contents of fatty acids in the body.
Lutein specifically performs the function of protecting the eye from free radicals that come in the form of high-energy blue wavelengths within light that is visible. This kind of light can cause damage to the tissues of the eye, with devastating effects when the body has a lutein deficiency.
Because the eye is so affected by light and has a fluid fatty consistency, it is subject to more damage than most anywhere else on the body as well. This means that your eyes need a lot of defense in order to stay working in proper function. This is why there is so much lutein and zeaxanthin contained within the eye. They can both prevent the onset of the effects of Macular Degeneration and prevent cataracts. It is also one of the only eye supplements known to be able to slow the actual progression of the disease, once there has been onset and diagnosis. This is another reason it is important to include in your diet, as well as take in from other sources if you have Macular Degeneration running in your family.
Your body can take in additional amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin as eye supplements to give it the added protection that it needs. You can find it in green leafy vegetables
One of the most popular herbal eye supplements, Bilberry is known to be highly beneficial to those suffering from night vision, cataracts, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy. This herb also helps to to ensure ample amounts of oxygen to the eyes because it helps to strengthen the capillaries, which aids in blood flow to the eyes.
Poor night vision is the inability or difficulty of vision when there is little to no light. Bilberry helps with this condition by encouraging regenerative growth of visual purple, the coloring scheme in the retina that allows the eye to adapt to low light environments.
Glaucoma and Diabetic Retinopathy
Components of Bilberry improve circulation, strengthen both blood vessels and capillaries and improve circulation within the eyes. Due to the pressure and changes of the eye in both Glaucoma and Diabetic Retinopathy, Bilberry is an essential vision supplement.
Bilberry has been proven to prevent cataracts from forming in laboratory rats, but testing is still being done on people. Since Bilberry is not a medicine, it will likely be used in future FDA approved prescriptions for cataract therapy.
Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fatty Acids
The retina contains more fatty acids than anywhere else in the body. One way to keep the eye functioning properly is to give the body enough of the essential fatty acids that it needs, which are omega-3 and omega-6.
Dry eyes are commonly associated with a deficiency in omega-3 fatty acids. Ensuring that your body has enough of this vital vision supplement can help to correct the problem. Additionally, adding omega-3 to your diet can help with age related Macular Degeneration and diabetic retinopathy.
If you notice dark floaters in your vision, chances are that you could use Hyaluronic Acid as a vision supplement. This is because it acts as a shock absorber and lubricant to the structures of the eye. When particles run into the eye tissue, Hyaluronic Acid can help reduce the amount that sticks to the eye fluid. This increases vision and lends protection to the delicate eye tissue. You will notice these benefits as clearer vision and less strain.
Evening Primrose Oil (Borage Oil)
Applied topically to the eyes Evening Primrose oil (sometimes called Borage oil) can help to keep the surface moist. This is thanks to a substance called gamma linolenic acid (or GLA), Evening Primrose oil helps with the formation of tears. As a vision supplement, it can help your eye wash itself and alleviate the need for artificial tears.
Found in only a few spots in the world, Ginkgo Biloba has been used for centuries in medicine treating a number of ailments. For the eyes specifically, Ginkgo Biloba can help decrease ocular pressure for sufferers of glaucoma and can aid blood flow towards the retina. Additionally, within the plant are a number of helpful antioxidants that provide regenerative effects and protect the nerves within the eyes.
Chymotrypsin is not a direct vision supplement, but rather a stomach enzyme. The reason that it is so helpful for eyecare is because it helps to prohibit the formation of cataracts.
There’s Not Just One Vision Supplement
For many conditions, there will be one powerhouse supplement that will work directly for your condition. With eyes, there are a number of vision supplements that are helpful. Furthermore, notice that many of those from the above list are noted to work well together. It’s common that your doctor will request that you take a batch of vision supplements because research continues to show that the individual benefits are compounded, working more efficiently when other vitamins, minerals or herbs are present.
Helpful Tips To Keep Your Eyes Healthy
Smoke More Pot
Glaucoma was one of the main reasons that pushed forth the medical marijuana laws that we now have in America. It’s not because it makes you high (though many see this as an added benefit), smoking marijuana actually has beneficial effects for those suffering from glaucoma. The reason is because the cannabinoids within the marijuana plant aid in reduction of pressure to the eye, one of the main causes of optic nerve damage for those with the disease.
Note: Before using marijuana as an eyecare supplement, check the laws within your state.
Protect Your Eyes From Ultraviolet (UV) Rays
UV rays cause harm to your eyes. One of the main ways that the body defends from them is through antioxidants which can be attained through diet and other vision supplements. The reason UV rays are so dangerous is because they actually damage the eye tissue. Aside from eye care supplements and diet, there are a few more ways that you can protect your eyes from these harmful free radical producers.
Drink Green Tea
Drinking green tea has shown to have benefits for the eyes due to it’s powerful antioxidant properties. Polyphenols from within the tea also protect the eye from damage caused by ultraviolet light. Drinking at least three cups a day can give you the added benefits.
Wear Your Sunglasses
They protect your eyes and make you look cool, so long as they have a verified UV ray protection sticker on them when you buy them. Most sunglasses do these days, however you want to be sure that they protect enough. Look for glasses with protection from both UVa and UVb rays, in order to get the most protection.
Take Charge of Your Blood Sugar
There is a definite link between eye health decline and diabetes. This is because increased sugar (glucose) levels within the body will lead to damaged proteins and increased free radicals associated with aging. This in turn can cause blindness. In fact, the leading cause of blindness in America is diabetes.
Additionally, there seems to be a link with diabetes and the onset of Macular Degeneration, another disease which causes blindness. It is the leading cause of blindness in people over the age of 50 in America.
Because of this, it is important to note that on top of eye supplements, you may want to consider adding diabetes supplements to your diet as well.
Take Care of Your Eyes
There are a number of conditions that can cause problems with vision. Moreover, there are a number of eye conditions which can be easily prevented or at least staved off. It is well worth your time to search out the right eye supplements for your needs and then also consider healthy eye care routines that will keep your vision healthy.
Remember, most vision supplements work best when taken in conjunction with one another. This will help you get the most out of your efforts.