Tuesday, July 8, 2008

How To Protect Your Eyes And Improve Your Vision

If only poor, old, Mr. Magoo had taken his vitamins and herbs, he might have been able to see! But, he's not the only one to suffer from vision problems. More than 75% of people over age 65 will suffer from cataracts, macular degeneration, or even blindness in the next year! The escape these problems if they took in the easily obtainable nutrients that protect eye health.

What Causes Eye Degeneration?
There are some surprising things that can damage your eyesight:

Too much sunshine
The sun creates one of the biggest enemies of healthy eyes: 'free radicals'. These dangerous invaders destroy healthy cells in the lens of the eye. There is now clinical proof that too much sun in your eyes can lead to cataracts. The hours between 10a.m. and 3p.m. produce the ultraviolet light which causes the most damage, particularly in the summertime. As the ozone layer continues to be depleted, it is estimated that for every 10% decrease in ozone, there's a 6% increase in cataract development. It's apparent that cataracts will continue to be on the rise, unless you take preventive measures now.

Age-related problems
As we age, we rapidly lose glutathione, one of your body's natural antioxidants (up to 94% over an 84-year life span). Gluthathione helps to protect us against free radical damage from the sun's deadly rays. Without it's protection, the clear lens of your eyes turns cloudy, preventing light from focusing on the retina and resulting in blurred and impaired vision.

Another important mineral that decreases with age is zinc. The concentration of zinc is very high in the retina, and low levels can lead to macular degeneration. And lastly, vitamin C, which is also in high concentration in the lens of the eyes, starts declining with age.

Environmental contaminants
Microwave ovens leak waves, which may cause cataracts. That's why its important never to look directly at a microwave oven when it's on. Air-pollutants also decrease glutathione levels, a valuable antioxidant. So do industrial chemicals.

Unhealthy lifestyle choices
A poor diet with too little zinc, carotenoids, vitamin C and E, too many prescription drugs (such as steroids), too much alcohol, and cigarette smoking, ALL increase free radical damage.

The Most Common Vision Problems

This occurs when the lens of the eye thickens and becomes inflexible, making focusing difficult due to the partial or complete clouding of the clear lens of the eyes. Here's a way to look at it; when you fry an egg, the clear protein surrounding the yolk oxidizes as it's exposed to heat, and turns solid white. This is the same thing that happens in cataracts. Free radicals attacking your eyes commit this oxidative damage, so the normal transparent lens develops the opacity known as cataracts.

Macular degeneration (MD)
This is the leading cause of irreversible blindness among Americans over 65! The macula is a portion of the retina in the back of the eye. MD occurs when macular cells in the center of the retina become damaged. This is caused in part, by oxidative damage. The retina is particularly susceptible to such damage, because it is exposed to more oxygen than any other organ in the body, except for your skin. Furthermore, the retina contains a high concentration of lipids, easily damaged by oxygen.

Glaucoma is characterized by loss of peripheral vision, which is accompanied by an increased pressure of the fluid within the eyeball. There are two million known cases of glaucoma in the United States, making it a leading cause of vision loss and potential blindness.

This is a serious visual disorder characterized by hemorrhage of the retinal blood vessels. It is usually associated with either hypertension or diabetes, and is a major cause of blindness among diabetics.

Lifestyle Tips For Healthy Eyes

Stay active
Exercise helps to increase blood circulation to all parts of your body, including the macula.

Stop smoking
Smoking decreases circulation and increases the number of dangerous free radicals.
Enrich your diet with lots of fruits and vegetables
They are packed with antioxidants, including vitamins A, C, beta-carotene and other carotenoids, including lutein and zeaxanthin.

Increase your intake of nuts, seeds and cold-pressed fats
They are rich in Vitamin E, a valuable antioxidant that protects against the oxidative damage done by free radicals.

Limit your intake of the bad fats
Saturated fat, hydrogenated fat, and trans-fatty acids cause a significant increase in the production of free radicals.

Vitamins, Minerals, and Herbs To Protect And Strengthen Your Eyesight

Bilberry Extract
Anthocyanosides, the active bioflavonoids in bilberry, act as antioxidants in the retina of the eye, protecting against macular degeneration. Bilberry also protects against night blindness, by generating the production of the eye protein, rhodopsin. This protein improves visual acuity, strengthens eye capillaries, and reduces hemorrhaging in the retina, which is frequently seen in diabetic retinopathy.

Citrus bioflavonoids
This family of bioflavonoids is derived mainly from citrus fruits. They help to strengthen capillary walls plus enhance circulation in the eye.

Gingko biloba.
This herb supports healthy vision by improving circulation in the eye. This helps to reduce the risk of macular degeneration.>

Grape skin extract
Grape skin extract is a flavonoid with antioxidant capability. It is a powerful free radical scavenger, protecting the retina from the oxidative damage caused by sunlight.

Alpha-Lipoic Acid
This all-purpose antioxidant increases glutathione levels, protecting against free radical damage of the lens, and the formation of cataracts.

This carotenoid, a rich antioxidant, concentrates in the part of the retina where macular degeneration strikes. As a result, it helps to protect the retina from damage caused by sunlight. It also wards off oxidation of lipids in the eyes.

Zeaxanthin, an antioxidant in the carotenoid family, like lutein, is found in concentrated amounts in the retina. This nutrient helps to filter out the most damaging portion of the ultra violet spectrum: blue rays.

This B vitamin boosts glutathione levels, protecting against cataracts.

Mixed carotenoids
There are roughly 600 naturally-occurring carotenoids. While you are probably familiar with beta-carotene, ingesting only one carotenoid does not offer adequate protection. That's because carotenoids are a major constituent of the retina. Their concentration in the retina protects against free radical damage due to the presence of light and oxygen, helping to ward off macular degeneration.

This naturally occurring antioxidant helps to shield the eye from free radical damage.

This antioxidant also helps to protect against free radical damage.

Vitamin A
This antioxidant is undisputed in its crucial role in maintaining good vision as well as protecting against night blindness and macular degeneration.

Vitamin C
The lens of the eye normally contains high concentrations of vitamin C, a well-known antioxidant nutrient. Since vitamin C concentration decreases as you age, getting more vitamin C helps to replenish eye stores of this vitamin, preventing cataracts from forming.

Vitamin E
A known quencher of damaging free radicals that oxidation unleashes, this antioxidant prevents cataracts.

The concentration of zinc is higher in the retina than any other organ. Since zinc decreases with age, supplementation is important. This mineral maintains the activity of catalase, an antioxidant enzyme, found in the retina. Reduced levels can lead to macular degeneration. Zinc also helps your eyes adapt to the dark plus protects against cataracts.

"Eye opening- news reports show the value of taking the right nutritional supplements to prevent vision loss and protect your eyes"


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