In an August Health is Wealth “Health Alert,” Nobel Laureate in Medicine Dr. Louis Ignarro and Naturopathic Physician Dr. Andrew Myers write that the most common cause of vision loss is macular degeneration. To prevent this vision-stealing eye disease, they suggest the following actions:
- Have regular eye exams (every one-to-three years, depending on age and family health history).
- Wear sunglasses with both UVA and UVB protection.
- Eat healthy food (lots of fresh fruits and veggies).
- Don’t smoke.
- Pamper your eyes: blink, rest your eyes when reading or driving, use artificial tears, drink plenty of water.
- Exercise: “Regular exercise increases circulation and lowers blood pressure, which can decrease the risk of eye diseases.”
- Use supplements: Drs. Ignarro and Meyers recommend ingesting a daily multivitamin along with lutein to promote eye health.
Other researchers suggest additional supplements. In 2001, the National Eye Institute reported: “Scientists found that people at high risk of developing advanced stages of AMD [macular degeneration], a leading cause of vision loss, lowered their risk by about 25 percent when treated with a high-dose combination of vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, and zinc. In the same high risk group—which includes people with intermediate AMD, or advanced AMD in one eye but not the other eye—the nutrients reduced the risk of vision loss caused by advanced AMD by about 19 percent.”
In addition to mentioning the above supplements, a University of Maryland Medical Center article indicates the antioxidant-carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin may possibly slow the disease. Plus, leafy green vegetables and omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil) offer some protection as do folic acid and B vitamins. Ginkgo biloba, bilberry and grape seed are listed as herbs that may be useful in the prevention and/or treatment of macular degeneration.
Blink three times and have a drink of water! Becky