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Seeing Clearly: Your Vision & Eye Health

Help for vision: Lutein and other carotenoids, Bilberry, Eyebright, zinc,
Ginkgo (improves arterial blood flow), selenium, taurine, oysters, fish, red meat,
beans, whole grains, liver & kidney, onions, garlic, and broccoli.

Hawthorne helps vision -  from the Natural Products Insider

TIANJIN, China-- Hawthorn extract has antioxidant effects that may help fight cataract development, according to a new study (Biol Trace Elem Res. ePub 2010 Jul 2. DOI: 10.1007/s12011-010-8752-8). A research team from the Tianjin University of Traditional Chinese Medicine looked to evaluate the anticataract potential of Crataegus pinnatifida (hawthorn tree) leaf extract in vivo and its antioxidant effects in vitro. The in vitro antioxidant assay found the extract strongly inhibited aldose reductase and nitric oxide (NO) production, while showing oxygen radical scavenging activities; the team attributed the activity to nine major flavonoids found in the leaf extract.

Based on the in vitro results, the researchers prepared C. pinnatifida leaf extract eye drops in an 0.1 percent hydroxypropyl methyl cellulose solution. The eye drops were administered three times per day in rat pups undergoing selenite-induced oxidative ocular stress. Hawthorn extract increased serum superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase (CAT) antioxidant enzyme activity, and reduced malondialdehyde (MDA) oxidation levels compared with control animals. Further, activity of SOD, CAT and glutathione in the lens was significantly increased.

More about nutrients to help eye health

Eyes are a very delicate part of the body but are in constant contact with the environment. As such, they are susceptible to airborne pollution and other irritants. In this article we will be looking at ways to support eye health and look after one (or two!) of the most important organs of the body.

The eyes have two million parts (yes 2,000,000) and are very complex, second only to the brain. In an average lifetime your eyes will register an absolutely staggering 24 billion images. However, they can be affected by a range of conditions, such as conjunctivitis, blepharitis, hayfever, age-related macular degeneration, general strain and tiredness.

Eye on ocular health in the computer era     Vitamin A in Food     Zinc     Learn more about antioxidants

Vision and Preventative Medicine  - The world is changing. The concepts of Western medicine have shifted in recent years and the public is demanding much more from our health care providers. The use of complementary forms of health care, like acupuncture and Chinese Medicine, is being more accepted by Western medicine.

As an optometrist I see vision problems multiplying at epidemic proportions in our society. Optometrists and ophthalmologists are very concerned with the deterioration they are seeing in their patient's vision. An example of this is illustrated by the condition of macular degeneration. Macular Degeneration is the leading cause of irreversible blindness in the United States and by the year 2020, an estimated 30 million Americans will be diagnosed with this condition. Although there is no effective treatment in Western medicine at the present time, research and clinical studies have shown that acupuncture, nutrition and microcurrent stimulation go a long way in preventing the disease from progressing to the point of vision loss. In some cases vision has improved.

Last year at the AAOM meeting in Washington, DC, Dr. Gene Bruno gave a workshop on the use of microcurrent stimulation and macular degeneration. He has been using it with great results in his practice. I was thrilled to see that this information was being shared with the acupuncture community as I feel that it is with the use of acupuncture and Chinese Medicine that many of the visual conditions we see today can be helped. What we need is an integrative approach to vision care in this country bringing together the best of both Western and Chinese medicine.

The conventional medical approach wrongly believes that eyesight almost always worsens with age and that nothing can be done about it - almost as if the eyes have a mind of their own, and that all we can do is stand idly by as they deteriorate. One reason for this is because eye care in this country is symptom oriented. In our training as eye doctors, we are taught that once something goes wrong with your eyes, there is not much that can be done. And we are hardly taught anything about prevention of problems.

In general, people believe that eye problems are just a natural consequence of the aging process, but I have seen numerous patients who were able to stop their eyes from getting worse and also improve the condition of their eyes. This occurred in such cases as macular degeneration, cataracts, and glaucoma.

There is very little focus by eye doctors on prevention. For example, if a patient needs corrective lenses, an eye doctor will prescribe them. The patient will pay their eye care professional and express their gratitude for helping them to have better vision. Within a few years the prescription may not be adequate to provide the proper correction. The patient will undoubtedly return and their eye care specialist will probably tell the patient they have discovered that their vision has gotten worse and they will need a stronger prescription The patient will again be grateful for the help. A similar senario occurs with glaucoma. A patient will usually be given eye drops and be told to take these eye drops for the rest of their life. Where is the much needed prevention and rehabilitation?

I believe many eye diseases can be prevented. A question many patient's ask me is, "Can anything be done to either prevent or improve these eye conditions instead of just letting them deteriorate?" The answer is yes! If, for example, a patient is 56 years old and is diagnosed with borderline, high intraocular pressures of 26 and 27 mm Hg, they will test the visual field and optic nerve. If the visual field and optic nerve are fine, the doctor will either just monitor it regularly or possibly give medication to control the pressure. There is nothing preventive to help stop the onset or to reverse the condition.

Instead, a program which includes dietary changes, nutritional supplementation, such as omega-3 essential fatty acids, alpha lipoic acid, and vitamin C, physical exercise, acupuncture and herbal medicine, has been shown by research to help lower eye pressure naturally without medication. This is the kind of proactive, preventative approach I am recommending.

Macular degeneration is even more frustrating. Most of the time the doctor just says, "There is nothing we can do and if it gets worse we can laser the vessels." Many of studies have shown the benefits of a nutritional program emphasizing the cartenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin, zinc, grape seed extract, bilberry and taurine along with the benefits of Chinese medicine and microcurrent stimulation.

One of the reasons this integrative approach is needed is because people are more than an interesting set of symptoms that must be addressed with the proper drug. They are complex human beings functioning on several levels: emotional, spiritual, and physical. All of these levels need to be considered when treating a person. Merely quelling the physical symptoms of disease does not address all of the levels of their being. Treating the eyes is no different. Treatments such as nutrition, Chinese medicine, physical exercise, and lifestyle, offer natural methods of balancing the multi-faceted cause of disease.

In summary, as vision problems continue to multiply in our society, using this integrative approach should allow patients to become active participants in their own care, giving them back the power and responsibility they have so trustingly handed over to their eye doctors. A goal of medicine should be the development of a practical approach to vision care based on an underlying philosophy that emphasizes prevention. In doing so, we celebrate the healing power within all of us and acknowledge the mind/body's inherent potential for self-healing.

Marc Grossman, O.D., LAc., holds degrees in optometry & acupuncture. He has been a behavioral optometrist for more than 20 years. He is Co-author of "Greater Vision: A Pathway to Physical, Emotional and Spiritual Transformation", "Natural Eye Care: A Comprehensive Manual for Practitioners of Oriental Medicine" and "Magic Eye: 3-D Guide".

Visual Cues

Marigold Miracle: As a retired optician, Harry Marsland knew better than most how serious it was when he was diagnosed with an untreatable eye condition. But his tale of despair has turned into an astonishing story of recovery - thanks to the marigold plant. Mr Marsland, who at one stage needed help just to walk, could be the first person in the UK to have recovered from a devastating condition that causes blindness.

Within months of starting to take a food supplement containing marigold extracts he is driving a car again, reads without a magnifier and has near-perfect vision in the affected eye. Mr Marsland, 73, suffered from age related macular degeneration, which is responsible for half the cases of blindness in the country.

After a number of standard vitamin treatments, which can only slow decline anyway, failed to work, he was handed a flyer that had been gathering dust in a doctor's drawer for almost a year.

It promoted a vitamin supplement called Macushield, which contains mesozeaxanthin, derived from marigolds. 

'I now know, professionally that I have recovered almost completely from the effects in my left eye,' he said yesterday. 'I am the first person to have such good fortune.'

Mr Marsland, from Oundle, Northamptonshire, started taking a 2mg capsule daily in April 2007. He paid 150 for it as it is not available on the NHS.

He has been blind in one eye since gambling on an experimental laser treatment in 2001, but the vision in his other eye is now 95 per cent as good as it was before.

'It was in August my wife Nina picked up my magnifying glass and realised it was dusty,' he said. 'She was the first to realise I no longer needed to use it.

'A few months later we were walking in the dark and I suddenly realised I was no longer holding on to my wife. It's miraculous, considering at one point I was literally blind in the dark.' Dry age-related macular degeneration happens when light-sensitive cells slowly break down. Daily Mail

"Light from the outside world is focused onto a structure at the back of the eye called the retina. The central part of the retina - known as the macula - is crucial for vision. In some individuals the macula gradually deteriorates leading to visual problems. This condition is called macular degeneration and approximately a quarter of individuals over the age of 65 have at least the beginnings of this disease.

Macular degeneration is triggered by damaging, destructive molecules called free radicals. In the body, free radicals are neutralised by substances called anti-oxidants such as the nutrient beta-carotene. One study showed that eating beta-carotene rich foods such as red and orange peppers, apricots, cantaloupe melon, kale and spinach helped reduce risk of macular degeneration. Other nutrients that have been found to help slow degeneration of the macula include lutein (a good source of which is spinach), and zinc."

Simple eye exercises that help the blind see again          Improve Vision with Nutrition

Vitamin C for Eye Health: Studies over many years point to the benefit of vitamin c in the prevention of many visual problems such as acuity, cataract prevention, and macular degeneration.

Let us send you the best in vitamin C or other visual health supplements.

The Palma Christi: The Edgar Cayce "oil that heals" is a mainstay of natural remedies for eye health.  In my work it has helped clients with cataracts, macular degeneration, eye allergy, detached retina, 'floaters', glaucoma, blepharitis and other conditions. 

Let us send you Leaflady's Eye Care Kit, only $5 plus shipping.
Or you may like our Herbal Eye Wash Kit, only $25 plus shipping.

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Natural Eye Care: Vision Health Treatment Options & Nutrient Recommendations

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