With so many degenerative eye conditions, Western Medicine has little to offer.
Take for instance age-related macular degeneration (ARMD). This is the leading cause of blindness in the United States.
In spite of this, there is no significant Western intervention for the most common form of this condition, namely dry-type ARMD.
Only when disease advances to wet ARMD are injections of chemotherapy type drugs called anti-VEGF used to control bleeding risk.
How Can We Support Our Eyes?
But there is so much we can do to support our eyes and often regain vision. In addition to lifestyle changes and acupuncture which can both improve blood flow in the retina, proper nutrition plays a significant role in ensuring eye health.
From 1992 till 2001 the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) was conducted. Its goal was to determine the most essential nutrients needed for degenerative eye conditions such as Age-Related Macular Degeneration (ARMD).
The study concluded that increased intake of antioxidants like beta-carotene as well as other nutrients like copper, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and zinc was essential to slow the progression of ARMD by 25%. There were at least a few caveats to this.
Namely, excess zinc can lead to prostate enlargement for men. Also, beta-carotene did increase lung cancer risk with smokers and ex-smokers.
Likewise, the nutrient recommendations from AREDS was only applicable to those who had an existing diagnosis of ARMD and were not determined to be preventative.
Because of the concerns of using beta-carotene and curiosity of effects of Omega 3s, a second Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS2) was completed in 2012 looking at the effects of adding other supplements to original formula including lutein, zeaxanthin and omega-3s.
Further benefits were garnered with these additional nutrients.
What Nutrients And Diet Are Most Important?
So what nutrients and diet are most important? We know that antioxidants can be found in dark leafy greens like kale and spinach.
Other bright colored vegetables/fruits like yellow and orange peppers and blueberries are rich sources of carotenoids.
Carotenoids are pigments that give fruits and vegetables their vibrant colors and rich in antioxidants.
Lutein and zeaxanthin are two carotenoids/antioxidants that are building blocks for the macular pigments of the retina.
These antioxidants help safeguard the eye from damaging effects of blue light and prevent the progression of degenerative eye diseases.
Antioxidants also strengthen blood vessels to prevent damage in the eye from bleeding vessels.
A diet that protects the eye must emphasize alkaline greens and Mediterian diet guidelines that include fish high in Omega 3s, minimal red meat, processed foods, and poor quality oils.
This diet also minimizes salt and refined carbohydrates. Vegetables and darkly pigmented fruits are important parts of the diet.
Nutrition is a vital part of managing ARMD and other degenerative eye conditions.
Ideal doses of for some eye supplements include:
-Lutein – 10-20 mg/day
-Zeaxanthin 3-8 mg/day
-Vitamin C 1000 – 2000 mg/day (liposomal)
-Zinc – at least 10 mg/day
-Omega 3 – 2000 – 6000 mg/day
-Grape seed extract – 150 – 300 mg/day
I look forward to speaking with you or a loved one about addressing your degenerative eye condition. Please call our office for a free consultation.