All parts of the human body are subject to the aging process. One of the most visible and somehow annoying aspects of this is failing eyesight.
Having to squint to read the menu at the restaurant on your 25th wedding anniversary can be quite a bummer. And for ladies, the prospect of having to wear glasses past the age of 45 can deliver a big blow to vanity!
Among the serious eye problems that seem to accompany age are presbyopia (inability to see things that are near clearly), cataracts (clouding of the lens of the eye), floaters and flashes (that can lead to detachment of the retina if left untreated), and age-related macular degeneration, or AMD.
Home Truths…In Plain Sight!
Here are some simple rules to keep you seeing well into your golden years.
Drink Plenty of Water
6–8 glasses of pure water is the basic stuff that your eyes need. Moist eyes are healthy eyes, and sufficient water helps in a myriad number of ways to keep your eyes clean and healthy. Dr. Ronald Hoffman, M.D., says, “Dehydration can hasten the development of cataracts.”
Eat Plenty Of Fresh Vegetables And Fruit
Especially colorful berries. They contain natural antioxidants that help keep the eyes young.
Get Some Rest From Those Bright Screens
TVs, computers, and phones all have bright screens that can tire your eyes out. Use the easy-to-remember “20-20-20” rule. Every 20 minutes, look 20 feet away from the screen for 20 seconds!
Do Simple Eye Exercises Every day
The muscles that attach the eyeball to the back of the eye are ones that tire and cause the need for spectacles, so set aside a few minutes to do simple eye exercises to keep those muscles in shape.
The fumes are extremely harmful to your eyes.
Wear Sunglasses With Good UV Protection
when going out in the harsh sun. This protects your eyes from “free radical” damage and keeps them young.
Improving Eyesight With Nature’s bounty
Along with the above, here is the star line-up of nutrients for good vision. Note how several of these players work well as a team, rather than by themselves.
Beta Carotene and Vitamin A
Two amazing eye vitamins! Beta carotenes give vegetables like carrots their bright yellow and orange color. In the human body, they are converted into vitamin A, which has the ability to protect the eye from damage caused by dangerous bacteria and oxidative stress. Vitamin A can also be extracted directly from animal sources and used by humans in the form of retinol.
- What seems to work for many: 15 mg of beta-carotene, or 25,000 IU of vitamin A per day.
We need only small amounts of this wonderful mineral in our daily diet, but our modern-day soils are deficient, and as a result, so is our food. Vegans are especially at risk for zinc deficiency, which can lead to poor night vision and formation of cataracts. Zinc, in its “chelated” (or digested) forms like citrate, acetate, or monomethionine is better absorbed in the human body and has the ability to retard age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
- What seems to work for many (dosages vary as per the reason for taking zinc): 5–10 mg daily as a preventive, 25–45mg per day if you have a deficiency, and 80 mg per day if you are trying to arrest AMD.
Remember: Too much zinc can lead to a copper deficiency, so supplement with 2 mg of copper per day of zinc supplementation.
Now what more will the good old C do? Surprise, surprise, it is vital for eye health too! Stress from the simple act of living—through UV rays, pollution, strain from watching electronic screens, and not relaxing eyes enough – all take a toll on the cells in the eyes.This is called “oxidative stress.” Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant, and when combined with other antioxidants like vitamin E and zinc, vitamin C can help lower the risk of vision loss and macular degeneration.
- What seems to work for many: 1,000 mg per day
Good fats are considered key to youth in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine. Both systems of thought equate flexibility and being “lubricated” with being young—and on the other hand, the drying up of fluids, especially fats, with aging. Proving this ancient wisdom is modern ophthalmic research that shows that omega-3 fatty acids prevent eyes from drying up, keep the eyes moist, and help proper drainage of fluids from the eyes. Especially needed for Americans, considering our high meat intake tilts the omega balance in our bodies more towards omega-6 rather than omega-3.
- What seems to work for many: 2,000–3,000 mg per day.
Lutein and Zeaxanthin
Lutein and zeaxanthin are carotenoids found in green vegetables that filter harmful high-energy blue wavelengths of light and act as antioxidants. Of the 600 carotenoids found in nature, only two are deposited in high quantities in the retina (macula) of the eye: lutein and zeaxanthin! They help protect and maintain healthy eye cells and prevent age-related macular degeneration and formation of cataracts.
- What seems to work for many: 10 mg of lutein, and 2 mg of zeaxanthin per day
A Good Multivitamin
In his book, “The Supplement Pyramid,” Dr. Michael Smith puts a high-quality multivitamin at the absolute “foundation” of good health. A twice-a-day supplement with high-quality ingredients, taken with major meals, can help augment nutrition from your food in a very big way. Get a good product, and make sure it has the 3 big eye vitamin guns: vitamins C, E, and A.
- What seems to work for many: 1 tablet, twice a day.
Grandma’s secret of eating a fistful of walnuts daily to have bright eyes has its foundation in the truth of vitamin E. Nuts and seeds are potent sources of vitamin E, and this antioxidant vitamin has the ability to lower the risk of macular degeneration and protect the DNA of all our cells, including those in the eyes, retarding aging.
- What seems to work for many: 400 IU per day
This dark blue fruit got its 15 seconds in the dark during WWII when British Air Force pilots are said to have eaten bilberry jam in large quantities before conducting night air raids with heightened night vision and devastating accuracy! Whatever truth there is in this entertaining story, the little fruit is much prized in the U.S. for its retina-protective properties. Ensure a trusted source, for the high demand has spawned many third-rate products in the market.
- What seems to work for many: 160 mg of bilberry extract twice daily for anyone with a diseased retina
And those are Nature’s soldiers in our battle to improve our eyesight. If you’ve spotted something that works better that you believe needs to be included here, please let us know.So trust Mother Nature and see what works for you. Believing is seeing!