Having been experiencing pain and spasms in my left eye, I recently scheduled an eye exam to see if my prescription for corrective lenses needed adjustment. Fortunately that was the case, and hopefully new glasses and a change in lenses will correct the problem.
My recent experience with eye pain made me stop and wonder how many other people experience problems with their eyes, and what are some ways to help prevent age-related eye problems. Did you know that age-related eye damage might be preventable, or at least delayed?
According to What Your Doctor Doesn’t Know Abut Nutritional Medicine May Be Killing You by Dr. Ray D. Strand, M.D., oxidative stress causes degenerative changes in the eyes. Oxidative stress may be preventable. Using antioxidant vitamins and minerals as a means of preventing oxidative stress and as a treatment for age-related eye diseases has generated significant interest and several clinical trials. The following related statistics were obtained from the aforementioned book.
Statistics Regarding Common Age-Related Eye Problems
– Cataract surgery is the most common surgical procedure for people over sixty.
– U.S. surgeons perform more than 1.3 million cataract surgeries annually at a cost of over $3.5 billion.
– A ten-year delay in developing cataracts would eliminate nearly half these surgeries.
– Age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) is the leading cause of blindness in people over sixty.
– Prevent Blindness America estimates that 14 million Americans have evidence of macular degeneration.
– The Beaver Dam Eye Study reports 30% of Americans over age 75 have macular degeneration and 23% more will develop it within five years.
Ways To Protect Eyes From Oxidative Stress and Age-Related Damage
– Buy high quality sunglasses that block all damaging UV light and visible blue light
– Become more conscious about shading your eyes and face from direct sunlight.
– Always wear protective eyewear whenever working or participating in outdoor sports and activities.
– Increase intake of antioxidant vitamins and minerals to decrease eye damage from oxidative stress.
The body produces natural antioxidants that form the eye’s primary defense system against oxidative damage. These natural antioxidants include glutathione peroxidase, catalase, and superoxide dismutase. Researchers realize these naturally occurring antioxidants that are produced by the body are inadequate to fully protect the eyes from oxidative damage.
Antioxidants found in the fluid around the lens of the eye is critical in protecting it from damage and whenever these fluid levels are low in antioxidants, cataracts develop much faster.
And while your mom may have been right in encouraging you to eat your carrots, research shows it is more important to eat corn, leafy green vegetables and collard greens. These green and yellow vegetables are high in lutein and zeaxanthine, two carotenoids important to good eye health.
Lutein and zeaxanthine effectively absorb and screen out high-energy blue light that can damage the lens and retina of the eyes. They decrease the number of free radicals produced by the photoreceptor cells and help neutralize any free radicals that occur in this area of the eye.
Other antioxidants are known to improve eye health by helping protect the eye from damage by oxidative stress. Some antioxidants are powerful in their own right. Others work as precursor nutrients essential ingredients for the eye’s primary defense system to produce additional glutathione peroxidase.
Recommended Nutritional Supplements Decrease Free Radical Damage And Improve Eye Health
– Vitamin C
– Vitamin E
– Coenzyme Q10
– Selenium, vitamin B6, N-acetyl-L-cysteine and niacin (precursors necessary for the body to manufacture natural glutathione peroxidase)
– Alpha-lipoid acid (precursor nutrient combines with vitamin C to make glutathione)
– Zinc and selenium (minerals necessary for catalase antioxidant defense )
Research shows age-related macular degeneration and cataracts may be preventable by avoiding damaging sunlight and increasing antioxidant intake. This may help more people avoid oxidative free radical damage, and delay or even prevent onset of cataracts and macular degeneration in future generations of older Americans.
Strand, Dr. Ray D. M.D., What Your Doctor Doesn’t Know Abut Nutritional Medicine May Be Killing You, (pgs. 85-95) Thomas Nelson Publisher, 2002