Jeepers, creepers…. This is the way I see it
The three general reasons you might be experiencing deteriorating eyesight are:
1) It’s of your own doing
You’re asking too much of your eyes. We don’t restrict our visual field with newspapers, books, and sewing so much anymore. Now-a-days it’s all about screens – computer, tablet and smartphone. This type of exposure can result in eye strain, dry eyes, deteriorating vision and screen fatigue.
2) You’re starting to age
A progressive loss of vision is common in people over 40. Your eyesight changes because the focal length of your eyes change. You’ll know this is beginning to happen to you when you are forced to hold printed material at arm’s length in order to read it clearly. Alternatively, you may begin to experience fatigue and an aching head or eyes when doing close-up work on a computer or reading a book.
3) You’re of advanced age
The declining health of your eyes, due to old age, affects millions of people worldwide. More specifically, ageing affects the macula. This is the part of the eye that allows you to see fine detail. The deterioration of this is considered to be the leading cause of irreversible blindness in those over 65 years old.
When your vision becomes clear
Generally speaking, it’s relatively easy to rectify ‘user error’ when it comes to maintaining healthy vision. Simply make sure you take frequent breaks away from your computer screen to avoid ‘stressing out’ your peepers. (Less screen time. More green time.)
However, in the cases where your age is impacting the quality of your vision, then you’re going to have to make more of an effort. To have healthy eyes and therefore healthy eye function (bright, sharp & focused) these sensory organs require you to supply them with nutrients that support blood circulation & regulate blood pressure. Your eyes also need to be provided with nutrients that support lubrication, healthy nerve supply and natural resistance to oxidative stress.
Another important way you can support your eye health is by minimising known risk factors such as smoking, excessive alcohol intake, UV exposure, obesity, and having a high glycaemic index diet.
Is that crystal clear or clear as mud?
Delivering a steady flow of oxygen and antioxidants to our eyes is essential for keeping them functioning optimally. A potent tonic for your eyes is a combination of lutein, zeaxanthin and blackcurrant. This combination can calm eye strain and assist visual fatigue after strenuous computer tasks. The mechanism by which blackcurrant may contribute in relief of eye strain, is through its antioxidant actions; helping your eyes to adjust to different lighting and distances.
Examples of helpful eye nutrients include
Calendula flowers & Dandelion greens: These two herbs supply lutein & zeaxanthin
Ginkgo leaves: This herb provides circulatory and neuro-protective support
Eyebright: As the name suggests, this is a specific herb for eye health
The nutrients lutein and zeaxanthin are found in high concentrations in the macula of the eye. Here, these two substances are found in quantities several thousand times higher than in the blood. Interestingly, the same nutrients used for supporting vision are also strongly linked to healthy brain function. (Which, I’m sure you’ll agree, is definitely worth aiding in advancing age…)
An observational study has found that supplementing with lutein can contribute significantly to macular pigment density in the elderly. (Low levels of lutein are associated with poor eye health.) Lutein helps to protect the macula from free radical damage. Therefore these nutrients are vital in ageing eyes.
Be visionary with berries
Compared to both bilberries and blueberries, not only do New Zealand blackcurrants have superior overall antioxidant (polyphenols) activity but they also have one of the highest levels of Vitamin C.
Vitamin C is known to protect cells from free radical damage, as well as normalise blood vessel structure & nerve function. This vitamin can therefore also help to manage eye fatigue, maintain the visual field, and generally promote eye health.
Berry good then – the eyes have it!
Let’s get to work to sharpen up your vision.
TAPS Code: PP1391
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lisa Fitzgibbon is a qualified (2006), experienced and registered Naturopath + Medical Herbalist. She draws on her professional training + experience, as well as her own personal experience to bring you realistic, holistic health advice. Lisa writes the popular health blog: www.lisasaid.so