Home|Consulting Services|Health Book Reviews|About|Contact|Testimonials|Terms of Use|Links to Other Sites

Eyesight Problems - Improving Sight by Improving Diet

Eyesight Problems - Remediation through improved diet

Eyesight is precious to everyone that has it. For most people, it would be the last sense that they would want to give up. Yet, the eyes and the various damages done to them are little understood by most people. The eyes are a complicated pair of organs in the body. Light reaches the eyes and is focused by the lens, which stretches or flattens in order to focus the light on the back of the eyeball, which is called the retina. The retina then turns the light energy into electrical energy, so that it can then be transmitted to the brain through the optic nerve. The brain then quickly processes the electrical signal information and forms a visual image of what originally entered the eyes. When any part of this process is disturbed, eye problems can result.

Many of the most common eye abnormalities are genetically-based, such as nearsightedness and farsightedness. There is some vision retraining techniques to try and help these conditions; they are outside the scope of this article. Vision correction with lenses, or laser surgery, are the main treatments for both nearsightedness and farsightedness. There are also a number of relatively minor eye problems that can temporarily occur, including: allergies that affect the eyes, inflammation of the eyelids, eye pain, sties and lumps on the eyelids, bacterial or viral infection of the eye, chemical irritation, broken blood vessels in the eye hemorrhage, dry eyes, and floaters. If you have an eye infection or suddenly notice significant changes in your vision, like blurriness that does not go away, or many gray floating specks in one or both eyes, notify your physician immediately.

There is some controversy about whether eyes need ultraviolet (UV) light or not. UV light is invisible to us; it comes from sunlight and certain other light sources. UV light can damage both skin and eyes. However, UV light can also have positive functions on the body, such as activating vitamin D in the body. Also some practitioners believe that only full range light, including UV light can keep certain organs and/or glands functioning properly. For example, the pineal gland needs adequate amounts of sunlight in order to function correctly. There is some evidence that the amount, quality, and spectrum of light help regulate basic behavioral functions, such as sleeping.

An old saying is that the eyes are the windows to the soul, and in medical terms, that saying could include disease states as well. Conversely, certain diseases in other parts of the body can also affect eyesight. For example, one of the problems associated with diabetes is damage to the retina, which receives light at the back of the eye. This is usually diagnosed as diabetic retinopathy, and it is the leading cause of blindness in adult Americans. Controlling blood sugar through proper diet, exercise, and supplementation is the key to preventing or managing diabetic retinopathy.

Besides diabetes-induced eye problems, there are three main serious eye problems: macular degeneration, cataracts, and glaucoma. Macular degeneration is a serious eye disease that usually occurs in older people. It may have more of a genetic component than many other eye diseases. In this disease, the central part of one’s vision becomes increasingly blurry, and sometimes they cannot see objects in the center of their vision at all. Age-related macular degeneration affects 6% of Americans 65 and older; it affects 20% that are 75 and older.

A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s lens. It is thought to occur by excess sunlight exposure. By age 64, there is at least a 50% chance that someone has developed a cataract. It’s not surprising then, that cataract surgery is the most common therapeutic procedure for Americans 65 and over. Symptoms include blurred vision, poor night vision/glare, nearsightedness, seeing halos around lights, and double vision in one eye. Risk factors for cataracts include: old age, living in a tropical or desert area with large amounts of sunlight, diabetes, a family history of cataracts, certain drugs such as anti-inflammatory steroids, and smoking. Some experts claim that many cataracts are caused by excessive milk sugar and table sugar.

Glaucoma is usually a slow and painless loss of side vision, which may eventually result in total vision loss. It affects about two percent of all seniors in America. Glaucoma occurs when there is blockage in the eye that prevents fluid drainage. Pressure then builds up that can damage the optic nerve. If the optic nerve is significantly damaged, vision loss and blindness will result. Risk factors for glaucoma include: middle age and old age, family history of glaucoma, extreme nearsightedness, diabetes, and African American or Native American ethnicity.

Fortunately, there are several nutrient supplements that can help prevent, slow, or even reverse many different eye problems. There is evidence that nutritional supplements can help slow macular degeneration, such as beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, and copper. There is also evidence that many people need to supplement with various vitamins and minerals in order to maintain eye health. Vitamin B2 deficiency may be linked to macular degeneration and cataracts. Also, low levels of zinc and selenium may contribute to macular degeneration.

One of the most important nutrients for proper eye function is vitamin A. Vitamin A actively helps maintain the outside of the eye. It is needed by the retina to help process visual light for electrical transmission by the optic nerves. Vitamin A is especially important for night vision. In animal studies, experimental deficiencies of vitamins A and E can cause retinal damage; also vitamin C may protect against sunlight-mediated retinal damage. Unfortunately, too much vitamin A supplementation can be toxic to the liver. Beta-carotene, the precursor to vitamin A, is a safer supplement to take on a daily basis. It is found in red, orange, and yellow vegetables, whereas vitamin A is found in animal products. A Finnish study showed that people with low levels of beta-carotene were almost twice as likely to have a cataract. Conversely, people who supplemented with at least 8700 IU/day of beta-carotene reduced their risk of macular degeneration by half.

There is much evidence that supplementing with vitamin C can help prevent the development of cataracts. Concentrations of vitamin C in the front of the eye are 10-30 times the average vitamin C concentration in the rest of the body. Vitamin C supplementation of 300-600 mg/day can reduce cataract risk by 70%. In fact, Vitamin C supplementation for more than ten years can reduce the risk of cataracts by 45%. Vitamin E may also be beneficial in preventing cataract formation. 400 IU/day of vitamin E can reduce the risk of cataracts by half. However, there may be some danger in supplementing with 400 IU/day or more of vitamin E. Also, 400 IU/day of vitamin E may accelerate certain vision problems, so it may be better to supplement with 200 IU/day of natural vitamin E. Look for labels that say alpha, beta, gamma, and delta (mixed) tocopherols are included in the bottle.

Do not buy liquid vitamins from a bottle, because they can go rancid (even in the refrigerator), and may actually be worse to take than nothing at all. Make sure the liquid vitamins are either in a capsule, a dry tablet, or are in powder form, like vitamin C crystals. Refrigerate liquid vitamin capsules such as vitamin E and beta-carotene to keep them fresh. If someone is thoughtful and disciplined in their diet and lifestyle, they can often slow or even reverse eye disease. It’s not inevitable that everyone slowly loses their vision as they grow old; as you have read, there are many natural ways to help the eyes maintain or regain their health.

Dr. Jensen provides science-based holistic health care and guidance. He can advise you on specific problems you are experiencing, or help you create a comprehensive health care plan for optimum health.

Dr. Jensen will provide you with a free initial consultation to discuss your situation and suggest a course of action.

Contact Dr. Jensen at 1-800-390-5365 or use the contact form.

Contact me today

Contact me today at
I am available to provide personalized consultations on general nutrition, or to tailor a plan for your specific needs.

Blood Sugar Conditions | Heart Disease and Metabolism | Base Health Recommendations | Common Allergies | Managing Asthma Naturally | Common Allergies
Holistic Health Practitioner | Integrative Health Counseling | Holistic Nutritionist | Wellness Coaching