There is help for aging eyes
By Joyce Tellier Johnson Cataract s
ACCORDING TO A STUDY conducted by A cataract is a clouding of the lens in
the National Eye Institute (
www.nei.nih.gov), one or both eyes that affects vision. Most
Americans fear blindness more than any cataracts are related to aging. In a normal eye,
other disability, including cancer and heart light passes through the transparent lens to
disease. Only loss of mental capacity was a the retina, where it is changed into nerve sig-greater concern. nals that are sent to the brain. The lens must recommended to protect the eyes from ultra-
More than 3. 5 million Americans over be clear for the retina to receive a sharp violet light—a leading cause of cataracts—
the age of 40 suffer from some sort of vision image. If the lens is cloudy from a cataract, and free-radical damage.
loss. The chances of developing eyesight the image will be blurred. A Tufts University study showed that gen-problems increase dramatically with age, due Cataracts can be caused by clumps of erous intakes of lutein and zeaxanthin reduced
partly to environmental conditions such as protein that reduce the sharpness of the the risk of macular degeneration by as much
cigarette smoke and ultraviolet radiation image reaching the retina or by a general as 40 percent and the risk of cataracts by up to
damage from the sun and partly to the body’s changing of the color of the lens from clear to 20 percent. While no recommended daily
inability to synthesize nutrients that protect yellowish/brownish. Most age-relatedcataracts allowance currently exists for lutein, positive
and enhance eye health and vision. Cataracts develop from protein clumps. Cataracts tend effects have been seen at levels of 6 mg per day.
and age-related macular degeneration to “grow” slowly, so vision gets worse gradu-
(AMD) are the top two age-related causes of ally. Seeing may become more difficult. Vision Blueberries, bilberries
blindness or reduced vision. may get duller or blurrier. If lens discoloration and eyebright
However, many Americans aren’t waiting is the cause, you may not be able to identify Blueberries and bilberries (
huckleber-for symptoms to escalate; they are using nat- blues and purples, but vision will remain clear. ries) are extremely high in anthocyanidin
ural nutritional and herbal supplements to bioflavonoids—the blue pigments in fruit,
protect their eyes from the effects of aging. Antioxidants which have natural health benefits, especially
Studies using antioxidant vitamins and the ability to strengthen capillaries.
Age-related macular other nutrients that fight free-radical damage Bioflavonoids, such as those in blueber-
degeneration have shown excellent results. A U.S. National ries, are essential for the proper absorption
Macular degeneration is a descriptive Eye Institute study of 5,000 people between and use of vitamin C and other antioxidants,
term for any condition that leads to loss of the ages of 55 and 80 showed a 25 percent and should be part of a lifetime regimen to
function of the light-sensitive cells at the cen- reduction in the risk of developing advanced help prevent loss of sight.
tre of the retina. Peripheral vision is pre- AMD through the use of an antioxidant and Bioflavonoids also help maintain collagen,
served, but reading becomes impossible. zinc combination with vitamins C and E as the intercellular “glue” that strengthens con-
Blurred or distorted vision and trouble dis- major components. nective tissues throughout the body. Bilberry
cerning colors can be symptoms of AMD. jam was fed to fighter pilots in the Second
The Amsler grid test is one of the sim- Lutein and zeaxanthin World War to enhance their night vision.
plest and most effective methods of monitor- Lutein and zeaxanthin—carotenoids, or Eyebright is a European wild plant used
ing macular health. The Amsler grid is a plant components, known for their color and since the Middle Ages to treat eye irritation.
pattern of intersecting lines (identical to antioxidant capacity—are found in the mac- It has antibiotic and astringent properties
graph paper) with a black dot in the middle. ular region of the eye. The body can’t make that tighten membranes and mucus surround-One stares at the central dot. With normal lutein or zeaxanthin, so supplementation is ing the eyes, which can strengthen and
vision, all lines surrounding the black dot will improve circulation. Rich in vitamins A and
look straight and evenly spaced, with no miss- C, eyebright also contains tannins that help
ing or odd-looking areas. When the macula is The Costco Connection reduce inflammation. C
not healthy, as in macular degeneration, the Costco carries a variety of items for eye
lines can look bent, distorted and/or missing. health, such as Ocuvite Tablets Antioxidant
You can order a free Amsler test grid on- Vitamin and Mineral Supplement and
www.ixm.us or take the test at Preservision Eye Vitamin and Mineral
Joyce Tellier Johnson, N.D., trains health-care
practitioners across North America in current
health issues and integration of pharmacological and natural therapies.