Careprost 0.03% w/v -3 ml Eye Drops contains Bimatoprost as an active ingredient. It is used in the treatment of Glaucoma, ocular hypertension etc. Buy now
Good nutrition is very important for both general health and eye health. It helps the body to grow, repair wear and tear, protect against infection, and function properly. The causes of macular disease are not fully understood, however, scientists believe that a combination of factors is responsible including genetics, age, diet, smoking, and sunlight. Often there is no known cause for the development of an eye condition.
Studies have shown that a good diet, full of fresh fruit, vegetables, and oily fish, may help protect against AMD in later life. Free radicals Oxygen is essential for the human body, but it can also be harmful, producing ‘free radicals’ which damage cells or prevent them from regenerating as they used to.
Your eyes can be damaged by free radicals, which can accelerate aging and affect the body’s ability to absorb or extract necessary vitamins and minerals from food. These free radicals damage the retina, the light-sensitive layer at the back of the eye. They also affect the lens, a clear tissue found behind the colored part of the eye called the iris.
The lens helps to focus light onto the retina, which then sends an image of what we are looking at to our brain. This is how we see. Cigarette smoking increases free radicals, and it can also affect appetite which may lead to a poor diet. Exposure to cigarette smoke has been proved without doubt to be a major risk factor in AMD.
Most vitamins and minerals – called antioxidants – can help prevent free radicals from harming healthy tissue. Antioxidants The main focus of research into the link between antioxidants and eye health so far has been on vitamins A, C, and E.
These vitamins help to maintain healthy cells and tissues in the eye and can be found in many different fruits and vegetables such as oranges, kiwis, green leafy vegetables, and tomatoes.
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They can also be found in nuts, seeds, dairy products and eggs, and many other food types. Lutein and eye health More recently, interest has grown into the effect of the antioxidant lutein (pronounced loo-teen), a carotenoid (pigment) found in high quantities in green leafy vegetables. Lutein, with zeaxanthin (pronounced zay-a-zan-thin), forms the macular pigment, absorbing potentially damaging blue light and free radicals.
This in turn relieves oxidative stress – a state in which free radical generation compromises the ability of the antioxidant defense system to neutralize their reaction before they cause damage to cells.
Meso-zeaxanthin (MZ) is another carotenoid that scientists think is formed from lutein within the retina. There is little evidence at the moment to suggest that supplementing with MZ is any better than supplementing with lutein.
Some studies have shown that lutein can also increase the density of the macular pigment – an important yardstick for the health of the macula – while other research indicates that early damage to the macula may be slowed by supplementing the diet with lutein. The human body is unable to manufacture lutein so it has to be obtained from food or supplements.
Taking 10mg of lutein every day was found by a randomized controlled trial to have a positive effect, so this is generally considered to be the minimum amount needed. However, the European average daily intake is just 2.2mg a day.
While research into the potential benefits of lutein is continuing, experts agree that you should eat a healthy balanced diet that includes plenty of green leafy vegetables and make sensible lifestyle changes, such as stopping smoking, which will boost general health and help reduce your risk of developing AMD.
Lutein and zeaxanthin can be found naturally in vegetables and fruit. For example, lutein can be found in yellow and orange peppers, Brussels sprouts, sweetcorn, green peas, mango, bilberries, and green leafy vegetables such as kale, all cabbage, winter greens, spinach, chard, and broccoli.
The vegetables should be cooked as this increases ‘bioavailability’ (how easy it is for the digestive system to extract the lutein).
Kale, however, which is by far the best source of lutein, has good bioavailability even without cooking. Zeaxanthin can be found in orange and yellow fruits, sweet peppers, broccoli, sweetcorn, Romaine lettuce, spinach, tangerines, oranges, and eggs. Many of these overlap with food types in which vitamins A, C, and E are present.
Saffron Research is currently underway by the University of Sydney in Australia into the potential beneficial effects of the antioxidant saffron on the eye. A previous Italian study of around 30 people showed encouraging results.
Omega 3 is an essential unsaturated fatty acid that is beneficial to general health. Some studies have shown that eating foods rich in omega 3 can make developing MD less likely. Further research is currently being carried out into any potential benefit.
The body cannot make omega 3 so it has to be obtained from food, such as oily fish – including salmon, herring, sardines, and anchovies – and eggs, meat, milk, and cheese.
Omega 3 can also be taken in the form of a fish oil supplement. Remember to check with your GP before taking any supplements or making major changes to your diet, especially if you take other medications such as Warfarin, as omega 3 may thin the blood.
Vitamin supplements As a result of various research projects into lutein and zeaxanthin, there are now many different vitamin supplements for eye health on the market.
These tend to take the form of daily capsules and usually contain the daily recommended amount of the vitamins and minerals found to be of benefit for eye health. Your pharmacist, optician, or health food shop can advise you about the products available.
In many cases it is possible to obtain further information on research from the supplement’s manufacturers – their details are usually on the box or instructions leaflet in the product box – to explain how their combination of vitamins and minerals could be of benefit.
Lutein and zeaxanthin supplements are fat-soluble and their passage through the intestinal wall is enhanced when they are consumed with fat such as olive oil. Research into supplements AREDS 1, completed in 2001, was a trial to investigate the effect of nutritional supplements on AMD.
It recommended the following formulation for healthy eyes: Vitamin A (as beta-carotene) 15mg Vitamin C 500mg Vitamin E 400iu Zinc 80mg Copper 2mg 9 Bausch & Lomb produced Ocuvite Preservision to a similar formulation and this is recommended by some ophthalmologists. However, this high-dose formulation may not be suitable for all:
• Beta-carotene has been linked to an increased risk of lung cancer in smokers and ex-smokers.
Vitamin E may interact with medications such as Warfarin and Aspirin. Vitamin K can change the way Warfarin affects the blood, decreasing its effect. This causes a dilemma for people on Warfarin, as many of the leafy green vegetables, which are so good for eye health, have high levels of vitamin K such as spinach, parsley, collard greens, kale, and Swiss chard.
We recommend you consult your GP before taking any supplements. Evidence of the benefits of nutritional supplements Studies into the benefits of nutritional supplements for eye disease are conflicting and 10 there is no real agreement among researchers.
However, it has been agreed that if you eat a good healthy diet which includes sufficient fresh fruits and vegetables (at least five portions every day) there should be no need to use supplements.
In reality, most people fail to eat the recommended amounts and, while supplements should not be seen as a substitute for a healthy diet, they may be used when the diet does not include enough fresh fruit and vegetables or if the vitamins they contain are not adequately absorbed by your body.