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Who Gets Age-Related Macular Degeneration?

by Cindy Gray

Age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, is a condition of the eye that affects the clear, central vision required for activities like reading and driving.  AMD with associated vision loss currently affects roughly 1.75 million Americans, most over the age of 60.  Knowing who is at risk for age-related macular degeneration helps people determine whether or not they should make an appointment with a professional for an eye exam. 

Age-related macular degeneration is most likely to develop in people 60 years of age or older.

Risk Factors for Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Here are common risk factors that increase a person’s chances for developing AMD:

Age – As mentioned, the disease occurs more often in people over the age of 60.

Genetics – People with a family history of AMD have greater risks for developing it.  Scientists have identified nearly 20 different genes that may play a part, with possibly more to come.  Because of the wide variety of genetic influences and risk factors, there are no genetic tests that can accurately predict the development of AMD.

Race – Research shows AMD is more common among Caucasian Americans than those of African-American or Hispanic descent. 

Smoking – Research also shows that smoking raises a person's chances for developing age-related macular degeneration.  A British study found that smokers were twice as likely to develop the disease as non-smokers.  The researchers also discovered long-lasting effects of smoking, with data showing higher risks for the development of AMD for as long as 20 years after quitting.

While the American Academy of Ophthalmology currently recommends against routine genetic testing for AMD, people who have one or more risk factors may want to consult with an ophthalmologist for a comprehensive eye exam which often includes the following:

  • Dilation – drops placed in the eyes widen pupils for a better view of the back of the eye, retina, and optic nerve
  • Amsler Grid – an eye test used by eye care professionals to determine if there are changes in central vision
  • Visual Acuity Test – measures the ability to see at a distance
  • Fluorescein Angiogram – injection of fluorescent dye into the arm allows eye care professionals to detect leaking blood vessels as dye passes through the eye
  • Optical Coherence Tomography – light waves produce high-resolution images of eye tissue

Related:  Eyesight Improvement:  Reduce Risk of Macular Degeneration

Diagnosis of Age-Related Macular Degeneration

To diagnose age-related macular degeneration, ophthalmologists look for drusen, which are yellow deposits that lie underneath the retina.  The presence of very small drusen are common with aging, however, larger deposits may indicate the development of AMD.  Eye doctors also look for changes in pigment found underneath the retina as opposed to in the iris (or the colored part of the eye).

Because AMD can cause vision loss and blindness, it is important to have a better understanding of the disease, especially for people who are approaching 60 years of age.  Knowing the risks for AMD helps ensure earlier diagnosis, better treatment, and the best eye health possible.  

Healthy Living Starts Here... Free Resource Guide

 

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The Healthy Aging Guide to Blue and Purple Superfoods

by IVL Products

When it comes to healthy aging, anthocyanins and antioxidants play a critical role in keeping your cells healthy and warding off cancer, cardiovascular disease and cognitive decline.  

Healthy aging with delicious blue and purple superfoods

Anthocyanins are a group of compounds in the flavonoid family (flavonoids, isoflavones, etc.) and are what give foods like grapes, red cabbage and berries a blue, red or purple hue.  They are thought to be powerful antioxidants that help damaged cells repair themselves.  They also appear to reduce arterial stiffness and lower blood pressure to help reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

While researchers cannot pinpoint exactly how anthocyanins prevent cancer cells from reproducing, the fact that they do is reason enough to be eating blue and purple foods regularly.

Antioxidants are generous nutrients that give molecules missing an electron (known as free radicals) one of their own. This has the effect of neutralizing the cell-damaging molecules and keeping cells healthy.  Getting plenty of antioxidants in your diet helps reverse sun damage, dampen inflammation and contribute to healthy aging.

Put Out the Fire

Chronic inflammation due to environmental pollutants, an unhealthy diet of high fat, high carbohydrate junk foods and even daily life stressors can be a major cause of disease in this country.  Inflammation damages your heart, and makes you more susceptible to cardiovascular disease. In the brain, inflammation over a long period of time leads to cognitive decline like short-term memory loss and dementia. The compounds in purple and blue superfoods douse the flames like water by lowering levels of C-reactive protein in the blood, a common marker for acute inflammation, and allow the body to heal.  

Related:  Inflammation Testing--a Valuable Predictor of Cardiovascular Risk

The Ultimate List of Blue and Purple Superfoods

Lucky for us there are many rich sources of anthocyanins and antioxidants in a wide variety of blue and purple foods. Below is a list of the best ones to add to your meals for healthy aging:

  • Berries –blue, red, black or raspberries these sweet juicy little fruits are good and good for you. They are rich in antioxidants like vitamins A, C and E as well as good sources of fiber and other nutrients.
  • Grapes – also of the berry family, the purple variety has been linked to living longer. This is thanks to a compound called resveratrol.  Sweet and juicy but very low calorie, eating grapes, nature’s candy, is a good way to slow down the aging process.
  • Plums- they are not as popular as berries and grapes, but they should be if you are interested in health aging. Plums have a long list of healthy compounds and nutrients including vitamins A, C, beta-carotene, potassium and iron.  They are also low in calories and high in fiber so put a few in your grocery cart.
  • Bilberry – these European cousins to the blueberry are known on this side of the pond as huckleberries. For decades they have been taken to improve eyesight, fight inflammation and lower blood pressure.  The potent flavonoids in them support cardiovascular health too.

Color Your World

It’s important to have a colorful diet for healthy aging to lower your risk of many age related diseases like heart disease, arthritis, stroke, and cancer. Eating blue and purple superfoods is one easy way to brighten up your diet and keep you feeling healthy.

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Six Strategies for Healthy Aging

by IVL Products

Aging gracefully and healthily may take some effort, but knowing what to avoid and what to include in your life should be a vital part of your healthy aging plan, whatever your age.

Here are some anti-aging tips to ensure that optimum healthy aging is achieved.

Exercise is an important part of healthy aging.

1. Avoid Sugar

Not only does sugar introduce "empty" calories into your diet, it is also a trigger for inflammation. Eat fruits in moderation and swap sugary drinks for low-calorie drinks; or better still, drink plenty of water. Top your breakfast cereal with antioxidant rich berries rather than sugar and you are well on your way to establishing a healthy aging, sugar-free regimen.

2. Avoid Food!

Intermittent fasting has been found to be an important part of longevity. As well as being naturally detoxifying, fasting decreases excess body fat, boosts mental clarity, and controls blood sugar levels. Restricting calories has been shown in studies to be very effective at extending lifespan.

3. Avoid Stress for Healthy Aging

Stress is the biggest enemy of healthy aging. It negatively affects general health, lowers cognitive ability, and unnecessarily triggers the release of stress hormones.

4. Include Omega-3s

Omega-3s are essential for older adults. As well as improving joint and heart health, these fatty acids appear to reduce the risk of dementia and Alzheimer's by reducing brain inflammation. Omega-3s are found in oily fish, nuts and olive oil, but the only way to be sure of your daily intake is by taking an Omega-3 supplement.

Related:  Five Ways to Increase the Effectiveness of Healthy Foods

5. Include Exercise

Regular aerobic exercise is essential for healthy aging as it improves muscle strength and counters the loss of stamina that is part of the aging process. Exercise also improves balance and supports stronger bones.

Checkout what high intensity anti-aging exercises you could incorporate into your life as part of your healthy aging plan. The American Heart Association advises doing 8-10 strength-building exercises and repeating them for 10 to 15 repetitions to build and maintain strength. Use hand weights to increase the effectiveness of simple weight training exercises such as biceps curls, lunges and squats.

6. Include Vitamin D for Healthy Aging

Scientists have found that higher levels of vitamin D can help slow the aging process and protect against age-related disease. It is thought to extend the telomeres responsible for cell regeneration. Studies indicate that people who have higher levels of vitamin D live significantly longer than their counterparts.

Sunshine is a natural source of vitamin D, but it also ages the skin, so enjoy the sunshine, but protect yourself from the sun.  Wear a hat when outside in the sun; wear a loose, gauzy shirt to protect your arms; wear sunglasses to protect your eyesight; and use a natural sunscreen when getting your vitamin fix. Taking vitamin D in supplement form or eating plenty of oily fish also boosts vitamin D levels, helping the body metabolize calcium for strong bones as well as protecting against heart disease.

It's never too early to starts a healthy aging plan, so consider these six strategies and get started!

 

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Kale and Spinach Help Prevent Vision Problems

by IVL Products

Although carrots have traditionally been hailed as the “go-to” vegetable to prevent vision problems, research suggests that green and yellow vegetables may be better options. According to the American Optometric Association, kale and spinach are particularly high in the nutrients associated with a decreased risk for age-related eye problems such as cataracts and macular degeneration. 

Help Protect Your Vision with Kale and Spinach

Green and yellow vegetables are potent sources of lutein and zeaxanthin, two nutrients that protect the retina against the oxidative damage that leads to vision problems. Spinach and kale top the list of eye-friendly veggies. Kale contains more nutritional value per calorie than any other food. One cup of kale provides 20 milligrams of lutein and zeaxanthin. Kale is also a potent source of vitamin A and beta-carotene. Spinach is another nutritional powerhouse that is loaded with many of the same nutrients.

Related:  What Foods Help Improve Eyesight?

Other vegetables that offer vision benefits include squash, broccoli, turnip greens, collard greens and lettuce. Always choose organic, locally grown vegetables for maximum nutritional value.

Because many people don’t get the nutrients they require through diet alone, millions of Americans use nutritional supplements to help protect against vision problems. Talk to your holistic health practitioner about adding supplements to your daily regimen.

While nutrition plays a vital role in vision health, an overall healthy lifestyle is equally important:

Don’t Smoke: Studies show that smoking doubles the risk for cataracts and triples the risk macular degeneration. Smoking harms the eyes because it impedes the circulation of blood to the eye and damages the delicate blood vessels in the eye.

Wear Sunglasses: The UV radiation from the sun can damage sensitive eye tissue and can actually burn the front surface of the eye. Always wear sunglasses that provide maximum UV protection. Wear a wide-brimmed hat when you are in direct sunlight.

Step Away From The Screen: Excessive time in front a computer screen can cause eye strain, dry eye syndrome and other vision problems. If your job requires you to use a computer several hours a day, take frequent breaks to rest your eyes.

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Bioflavonoids May Decrease Risk of Macular Degeneration

by IVL Products

Bioflavonoids have been linked to a decreased risk for age-related eye problems such as cataracts and degeneration. These immune-boosting nutrients provide much of the flavor and color in vegetables and fruits. In addition to their eye health benefits, studies have shown that bioflavonoids play a key role to play in the prevention of allergies, inflammation and cancer. 

The healing properties of bioflavonoids make it important to help reduce risk of Macular Degeneration.

Macular degeneration is the gradual, progressive destruction of the macular that limits the central vision which is needed for everyday activities. Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in Americans over 55.

More than 11 million people in this country are affected by some level of macular degeneration and that number is expected to increase as the population ages. Risk factors include advancing age, family history, cigarette smoking, obesity and hypertension. Oxidative damage caused by excessive UV exposure and environmental toxins can increase the chance for developing vision problems.

Related: What Foods Help Improve Eyesight?

Although there are some factors, such as age and family history, that you can’t control, there are many lifestyle choices you can make to protect your vision. Smokers have a significantly higher risk for developing macular degeneration and other eye problems because smoking damages the delicate blood vessels in the eyes. People who smoke double their risk for cataracts and nearly triple their risk for macular degeneration.  

Obesity is another controllable risk factor. Manage your weight with a healthy diet and regular exercise. If you have trouble keeping the pounds off, talk with your holistic health practitioner to develop a safe, healthy weight loss plan. 

Because bioflavonoids provide protection against vision problems and other health maladies, it is important to include them in your daily nutrition regimen. Research suggests that bioflavonoids and vitamin C complement each other, making them more effective when they are ingested at the same time.  Foods that are rich in bioflavonoids include red bell peppers, strawberries, citrus fruits, broccoli, spinach, green tea and buckwheat.

If you aren’t getting enough fruits and vegetables in your diet, you might want to consider taking a nutritional supplement that contains lutein, zeaxanthin and beta-carotene. Supplements are available online and at natural health stores. Boost your eye health with a healthy diet and nutritional supplements to reduce your risk for macular degeneration or other vision problems that could affect your quality of life and ability to function. 

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Cataract Surgery Reduces Fracture Risks

by Cindy Gray

Recent studies indicate that having cataract surgery to fix blurry vision significantly reduces the risk for fracture in patients who are 65 years old or older. The bottom line is that visual impairment such as blurry vision is a major factor in falls, which are the leading cause of fractures in the elderly. Vision plays a key role in providing a reference frame for balance and stability and cataracts impair the ability to focus.

Blurry Vision? Cataract Surgery Reduces Fracture RiskCataracts affect more than 20 million Americans. More than half of all adults will develop them by age 80, according to the National Eye Institute. Cataracts cause clouding in the lens of the eye, resulting in blurred vision. Surgery corrects the cataracts by replacing the cloudy lens with a clear artificial one.  About 3 million cataract surgeries are performed in this country each year. 

Risk factors for cataracts include heredity, advancing age, excessive exposure to ultraviolet light and cigarette smoking. People with high blood pressure and diabetes are more likely to develop cataracts and women are at higher risk than men.

While there are some factors, such as heredity, gender and age, that you can’t control, there are some proactive steps you can take to reduce your risk for developing cataracts:

Don’t smoke: Many studies have confirmed a direct link between cigarette smoking and vision problems, including cataracts. Government-sponsored studies have shown that smoking doubles your risk for cataracts and it significantly increases your chances for developing macular degeneration.

Wear sunglasses: Always wear sunglasses and a hat when you are in the sun. Prolonged UV exposure can increase your chances of developing cataracts because light that enters the eye is mainly absorbed by the cornea and the lens. Make sure the glasses you wear have lenses that block 99 to 100 percent of UV-A and UV-B rays. 

Related: Top 6 Supplements for Improving Your Eyesight

Get adequate nutrition: Your daily diet should include plenty of antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids as they have been shown to lower the risk for cataracts. Millions of Americans take nutritional supplements to ensure they are getting the nutrients they need to maintain vision health.

It is also important to have regular eye check-ups. While eye exams won’t prevent cataracts, they will diagnose them in their earlier, more treatable stages. Diagnostic tools include an eye chart test and eye pressure measurements which are performed by administering a small puff of air into the eye.

An overall healthy lifestyle that includes exercise, adequate rest, proper nutrition and frequent social interaction can help protect you from age-related health maladies. Make the healthy choices that protect both your health and your vision.   

References:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=Risk+of+Fractures+Following+Cataract+Surgery+in+Medicare+Beneficiaries

http://www.nei.nih.gov

http://www.visionfoundation.org

 

 

 

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Five Simple Tips For Healthy Vision

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Vision is the most important sense we possess. It plays an defining role in every waking minute of our daily lives.

No wonder that the American Optometric Association’s (AOA) annual American Eye-Q survey shows that 40 percent of Americans worry about losing their eyesight rather than their ability to walk or hear.

Five Simple Tips For Healthy Vision | Institute for Vibrant Living

Fortunately, it’s relatively easy to incorporate lifestyle practices that ensure your eyes remain healthy.

Five tips for healthy vision include:

  1. Scheduling yearly comprehensive exams - health care experts say that eye care should begin early in life, starting in infancy. Comprehensive eye exams performed by a certified optometrist can not only evaluate vision, but can also detect health problems such as high blood pressure (BP) and diabetes well in advance so they can be treated in time. Early detection and treatment is key.
  2. Protect your eyes against against UV rays - long-term exposure to the sun poses significant risk not just to your skin, but to your eyes as well - which is why it’s always important to wear sunglasses. Choose a pair that blocks more than 95 percent of UV-A and more than 99 percent of UV-B radiation.
  3. Give your eyes a break - it is estimated that up to two-thirds of Americans spend up to seven hours daily using computers or other digital devices. This can lead to problems such as dry eye, eyestrain, headaches, neck aches, lower back pain and fatigue. Proper lighting, appropriate seating and viewing angles, and sitting at the correct  reading distances to eliminate visual stress and discomfort are all recommended to keep your eyes and vision healthy.
  4. Eat your greens - make sure you eat five servings of fruits and green leafy vegetables every day. This will ensure that your body gets a steady supply of the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, essential fatty acids, vitamins C and E and the mineral zinc - all proven to protect eyesight and promote eye health. Your body doesn’t make any of these nutrients naturally, so you must get them from your diet.
  5. Practice safe wear and care of contact lenses - more than 40 million Americans use contact lenses to improve their vision. While some adhere to medical guidelines for wearing contacts, others are putting their vision at risk daily through unsafe practices. Improper contact lens use can lead to blurred or fuzzy vision, red or irritated eyes, pain in and around the eyes, or a more serious condition in which the cornea becomes inflamed, known as keratitis.

Source: Five Simple Tips for Healthy Vision.

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What are the Top Ways to Improve Your Eyesight Naturally?

by Institute for Vibrant Living

How to Improve Eyesight Naturally | Institute for Vibrant LivingHave you ever wondered how you could improve your eyesight naturally, without the help of corrective lenses or surgery?

If you have - you should know that while not all health experts agree that eyesight can be improved through natural means, there are some things you can change about your lifestyle and dietary habits that might help boost your vision.

For example, you could make sure your eyes get all the nutrients they need to function properly.

Foods that help you improve your eyesight naturally include leafy greens such as kale, chard, broccoli, collards and spinach. All of them contain lutein, one of 600 naturally occurring carotenoid antioxidants that are critical for healthy eyes.

Lutein is also found in egg yolks and animal fats - which also contain zeaxanthin, another eye-healthy compound.

Along with lutein, zeaxanthin forms a protective yellow pigment in the retina of the eye which lowers risks for cataracts and macular degeneration by filtering out harmful UV radiation. In fact, low lutein consumption has been found to be a risk factor for age-related macular degeneration. 

Which is why including a daily dose of lutein and zeaxanthin is guaranteed to help you improve your eyesight, naturally and efficiently.

Not only that, a daily dose of will give you -

  • lipoic acid - prevents cataracts and increases the potency of vitamins C and E, both of which protect the eyes from harmful UV radiation.
  • zinc oxide - reduces risk of macular degeneration by nearly 25%.
  • vitamin E - prevents or delays cataract growth.
  • bilberry - helps improve night vision along with strengthening blood vessels in the eyes.
  • grape seed extract - helps improve night vision and slow down premature aging of the eyes;

And much, much more!

Other dietary components that boost eyesight include omega-3 fatty acids that are found in fatty oily fish like sardines, tuna, salmon and in fish and krill oils. Citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, limes and grapefruit and non-meat protein sources such as pulses, beans and nuts are also important for eye health.

Smoking can lead to macular degeneration and cataract formation later in life. Like smoking, too much exposure to UV light can also damage the eyes, so make sure you wear sunglasses that protect your eyes from UVA and UVB rays when you venture out into bright sunlight.

For guaranteed improvement in eye health, today to improve your eyesight, naturally.   

Source: How to Improve Your Vision, Naturally.

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Video Blog: Vision Health: How to Improve Eyesight Naturally

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Watch the latest video blog from the Institute for Vibrant Living.
Dr. Christine Horner explains tips and tricks to help improve your eyesight and slow down the deterioration process of the eyes naturally.
Click the link below to ask Dr. Christine 

http://www.ivlproducts.com/pages/Forum-Signup/

 

Read these related blog posts:
Natural Ways to Strengthen Your Eyesight

5 Tips For Improving Your Eyesight Naturally

Improve Your Eyesight With Nutritional Dietary Supplements

Eyesight Improvement with Vitamin D

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What Foods Help Improve Eyesight?

by Health Tips
Protecting your eyes begins with what you eat.What Foods Help Improve Eyesight | Institute for Vibrant Living
 
Studies have shown that nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, zinc, and vitamins C and E protect the eyes and help to ward off age-related vision problems such as macular degeneration and cataracts.
 
Health experts recommend you regularly consume these 10 foods to maintain good eye health: 
  1. Cold water fatty fish like salmon, tuna and other oily fish - an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which make cell membranes in the eyes and brain more stable.
  2. Green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale and collard greens which are rich in carotenoids and especially lutein, a yellow pigment which protects the eye.
  3. Fruits and vegetables - contain the important vitamins A, C, E and beta-carotene. Yellow colored vegetables are extremely important for daylight vision.
  4. Garlic and onion - rich sources of sulfur, necessary for glutathione production - an important antioxidant for the eye’s protection.
  5. Soy - contains essential fatty acids, vitamin E and anti-inflammatory compounds.
  6. Eggs - rich in cysteine, sulfur, lecithin, amino acids and lutein. These components, plus vitamin B2, also found in eggs, help to prevent cataract formation.
  7. Bilberries and grapes - enhance night vision.
  8. Carrots, oranges and other citrus fruits and bell peppers - rich sources of vitamin C and vitamin A, two very powerful antioxidants which have been shown to specifically protect the eyes.
  9. Nuts and berries - high levels of omega-3s stabilize cellular membranes in the eyes. Berries also contain flavonoids, natural antioxidants which protect the eyes. Zinc, present in nuts, but also in eggs, sardines and shellfish, plays a key role in the release of vitamin A from the liver. Vitamin A is critical for eye health.
  10. Dairy products - also rich sources of vitamin A; vitamin A deficiency can cause blindness.
  11. Smoking and obesity/overweight are risk factors for poor eyesight and increase your chances of developing diseases such as type 2 diabetes, which is the leading cause of blindness in adults.
On the other hand, eating a well-balanced diet and regular exercise both help to maintain a healthy body weight and reduce your risk for these unwelcome health conditions.
 
Read this other blog posts on the same topic:
 
 
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How a Healthy Diet Can Improve Your Vision

by Health News

Improve Eyesight Naturally Vision ClearImprove your eyesight naturally by eating a diet that is high in fruit, vegetables, fish and spices. This will provide  your body with vitamins, minerals, carotenoids, and essential fatty acids. Of course, supplements for eyesight improvement are also readily available to complement the nutrition that you get from your food.

Spices - Turmeric, parsley and oregano are highly recommended. The good news is that spices are easy to incorporate into your diet and are virtually calorie free.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids - Most people eat seafood for their main source of Omega 3s. In particular, wild Alaskan salmon and sardines are recommended. You can also get Omega 3s in nuts and seeds, in particular, flaxseeds, walnuts and pistachios.

Antioxidants - Foods that contain beta carotene are also beneficial for the eyes.  For example, pilots are often fed carrots to help with their night vision, as carrots contain a high percentage of vitamin A.  In general, eating the mostly brightly colored fruits and vegetables will be the ones that are best for your eyes.

Lutein - most commonly found in egg yolks.  If you don’t like to eat eggs, you can also commonly find lutein in supplements for vision. It also is available in green vegetables like spinach and broccoli.  Lutein is actually found in the retina of healthy eyes and it acts as a shield against blue light, which is a harmful part of sunlight.

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Improve Eyesight Naturally with Fennel

by Health News

Impreove Eyesight Naturally with FennelNatural fennel, the deliciously exotic and fragrant spice that delights your senses in Indian food and in many breath-freshening preparations, is just full of surprises. Did you know that there is strong scientific evidence that this sweet, tasty plant contains compounds that can improve your eyesight naturally and help prevent vision loss on a couple of different fronts? Feast your eyes on this:

In 2008, researchers at the Delhi Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research determined that fennel may reduce eye pressure (high ocular pressure is the hallmark of glaucoma, a disease that can cause blindness). For this study*, researchers induced high ocular pressures in rabbits. They evaluated the effects of fennel seed extract on reducing these pressures. They ultimately concluded that fennel did have a beneficial effect on the pressure. This is compelling information, but the Glaucoma Research Foundation does not currently recognize fennel (or any other food) as beneficial to patients with glaucoma. Further evaluation is required in order to establish whether the benefit seen in rabbits is also seen in humans.

A more recent study**, led by researchers from the Department of Biochemistry at the Shivaji University in India strongly suggests that a compound in the fennel seed may prevent diabetic retinopathy (which is responsible for vision loss in diabetics). The researchers isolated a compound from fennel called trans-anethole. Trans-anethole blocks the conversion of sugar to sorbitol in the blood. How does this help the eyes? When blood sugar gets too high, as is often does in diabetics, the excess sugar is converted to sorbitol. Too much sorbitol trapped in the cells of the retina leads to retinopathy, cataracts, and eventually blindness.

Source:*http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18831355

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Another Reason to Include Food Supplement Vitamin DHA in Your Diet

by Health News

Food Supplement Vitamin DHAIf you’re already taking DHA as a nutritional supplement, or eating plenty of fish, you might be well on your way to improve your eyesight naturally as you age. A recent study* at the University of Alberta, Canada whose results were published in the Journal of Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science found that DHA—a fatty acid found in fish—prevented age-related vision loss in laboratory models.

Yves Sauve and his team at University of Alberta Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry discovered laboratory models (mice) fed DHA did not accumulate a toxic molecule, A2E, at the back of the eyes. According to Sauve, the toxin normally builds up in the retina with age and causes vision loss.

According to Sauve,  this toxin typically multiplies two-fold as we age, but that in the lab tests with mice receiving DHA, there was no increase in the A2E toxin whatsoever. The researchers conclude “These findings imply that dietary DHA could have broad preventative therapeutic applications (acting on pathologic and normal age-related ocular processes).”

This particular activity of DHA has never been demonstrated before, and the future therapeutic implications are quite promising. Supplementing with DHA could one day prove to be the “missing link” in mitigating this particular aspect of the aging process.

Sauve's team recently started another study, focusing on people who have age-related macular degeneration, a condition that results in the loss of central vision and is the main cause of blindness in people age 50 and older. The team said it wanted to determine whether participants with certain genetic markers will respond better to increasing amounts of DHA in their diet.

source: *http://www.iovs.org/content/53/4/2256.abstract?sid=81437a6d-d744-4a0d-b9c6-dc6cb2397cb2

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Who Else Wants Nutritional Supplements that Improve Your Eyesight Naturally?

by Health News

Improve Eyesight NaturallyIf you need one more reason why vitamin A and omega-3 fatty acids should be a part of your nutritional supplement regimen, we might have it for you right here! A long-term study* recently published in the journal Archives of Opthamology strongly suggests that the combination of these valuable nutrients slows the progression of a devastating disease called retinitis pigmentosa.

Retinitis Pigmentosa is a disease that affects approximately 2 million people worldwide. It usually begins as “night blindness” in adolescence and eventually progresses to tunnel vision. In many cases, the disease progresses to complete blindness in adulthood.

For the study, Eliot L. Berson, MD, of Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and his associates analyzed data from 357 adults with retinitis pigmentosa who participated in one of three randomized clinical trials that were conducted from 1984 to 1991, 1996 to 2001 and 2003 to 2008. All subjects were receiving 15,000 international units vitamin A in the form of retinyl palmitate for four to six years. Dietary questionnaires completed upon enrollment and at yearly follow-up visits were analyzed for the intake of omega-3 fatty acids.

In subjects whose omega-3 fatty acid intake was rated as “high” (200 milligrams per day), a 40 percent reduction in the average yearly rate of decline of distance visual acuity was observed in comparison with those who consumed lower levels of the nutrient. A similar reduction was observed for retinal acuity.

 “We conclude that mean annual rates of decline in distance and retinal visual acuities in adults with retinitis pigmentosa receiving vitamin A, 15 000 IU/d, are slower over 4 to 6 years among those consuming a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids,”  say the researchers. “To our knowledge, this is the first report that nutritional intake can modify the rate of decline of visual acuity in retinitis pigmentosa.”

Want learn more about natural supplements that strengthen your eyesight?

*http://archopht.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/archophthalmol.2011.2580v1?maxtoshow=&hits=10&RESULTFORMAT=&fulltext=Omega+3&searchid=1&FIRSTINDEX=0&resourcetype=HWCIT

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Natural Ways to Strengthen Your Eyesight

by Nancy Maneely

Many of us end a typical day with blurred vision, pounding headache, eyes that burn and feel gritty ... or any combination of the above. And no wonder! On top of irritants such as air pollution, household chemicals and allergens from pets and seasonal vegetation, consider what we’re doing most of the day:

  • Sitting for long hours at a computer workstation
  • Social networking after work/school
  • Watching TV
  • Playing videogames
  • Texting and using smartphone apps.

Yikes! When you think about it, we’re heaping constant abuse on a very precious gift – our eyesight.

March is Save Your Vision Month, and the American Optometric Association is issuing a special appeal to computer users, asking us to take some simple steps to protect our eye health.

Those of us who sit in front of a computer for long periods of time often encounter a variety of uncomfortable symptoms. Headaches, neck strain, backaches and wrist pain are common, but, sadly, the most prevalent symptoms of prolonged computer use – eye strain, blurred vision and dry eye – are often overlooked. In fact, eye and vision problems are the most frequently reported health-care problems among computer users.

Computer Vision Syndrome

These symptoms contribute to computer vision syndrome, which the American Optometric Association defines as "the complex of eye and vision problems related to near work that are experienced during or related to computer use."

Sitting at a computer generally causes a person to look straight ahead for long stretches, work in a dry office or home environment, and to blink less often. These factors can lead to vision problems.

To prevent developing symptoms – or to alleviate further damage to eyes from strain, it is important to follow good ergonomic practices for your desk setup.

Make sure the computer screen top is below your eye level by about 15 to 20 degrees, and have any reference materials you need between the keyboard and the computer screen level, so you don’t need to move your head to view documents. Other tips include using anti-glare screens and improving lighting, seating position and height.

In general, safeguarding your eyesight means taking care of your overall health with good sleep habits, a balanced diet and regular exercise.

  • Your eyes need time to rest and replenish the nutrient-rich fluids necessary for clear, sharp vision. That means getting good quality sleep – 8 hours if possible – every night.
  • If you suffer from dry eye, use eye drops throughout the day and an over-the-counter nighttime eye gel or ointment. If the problem is severe, consult your health-care practitioner.
  • A balanced diet containing lots of antioxidant-rich vegetables and fruits will help to ensure a healthy blood flow to eyes and brain. Be sure to get plenty of omega 3 fats (walnuts, olive oil, flaxseeds, avocados) and include at least two servings of fatty fish (salmon, tuna, sardines) in your weekly menu.
  • A daily eye health supplement can help you strengthen your eyesight naturally. Look for these ingredients: vitamins A, C, E, B6 and B12; astaxanthin, Alpha Lipoic Acid, lutein, lycopene, vinpocetine, and zeaxanthin.

What is your favorite remedy for soothing tired, overstressed eyes?

Learn More: American Optometric Association, Computer Vision Syndrome Fact Sheet (PDF)

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Eyesight Improvement with Vitamin D

by Health News

You’ve probably heard what recent studies have concluded about vitamin D boosts you immune system naturally, and how it can be an invaluable ally during flu season. And you’ve no doubt heard the more recent news that vitamin D might protect against the ravages of type II diabetes. But here’s another amazing benefit this vitamin might offer: strengthen your eyesight as you age.

Eyesight Improvement with Vitamin DDr. Glen Jeffrey and other researchers at the University College of London Institute of Ophthalmology in the UK conducted a study* in which they treated middle-aged mice with vitamin D for six weeks. For the treated group, one-year-old female mice were injected with safflower oil containing 0.9 micrograms of vitamin D every three days.  One mouse year is roughly 50 human years.

After six weeks, tests measuring the electrical responses of retinal cells showed significant improvement in the vision of the treated mice. So, what is the mechanism behind these very promising results? According to Dr. Jeffrey, it has to do with the reduction in amyloid deposits and inflammation in the blood vessels—a finding that could have even broader implications beyond those gleaned from this study.

“Finding that amyloid deposits were reduced in the blood vessels of mice that had been given vitamin D supplements suggests that vitamin D could be useful in helping to prevent a range of age-related health problems, from deteriorating vision to heart disease, " says Dr. Jeffery.

Ask your health care professional about the best way to incorporate this important nutrient into your supplement regimen.

*http://www.neurobiologyofaging.org/article/S0197-4580(11)00519-7/abstract

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How to Strengthen Your Eyesight with Supplements

by Health News

How to Strengthen Your Eyesight with Supplements Many of us take the strength of our eyesight for granted. It’s easy to do when you’re young and there are so many effective and permanent options for treating things like myopia (poor distance vision). But as we age, our eyes are subject to a plethora of possible problems such as macular degeneration, glaucoma and type II diabetes. Fortunately, there are nutritional supplements that you can take every day to help strengthen your eyesight. 

Here are a few of them:

Bilberry. This antioxidant rich fruit has demonstrated in at least one scientific study* that it is effective in preventing cataracts and macular degeneration (a leading cause of blindness in people over age 50). There is also strong anecdotal evidence suggesting it helps improve night vision by increasing the production of a pigment that helps the eyes adapt to light changes.

Vitamins C and E, beta carotene and zinc. A 2008 study** published in the Archives of Ophthalmology showed that subjects at high risk for macular degeneration who took this nutrient combination had significantly lower rates of macular degeneration when compared to those taking a placebo. The study concluded that people who are at risk for developing macular degeneration, as determined by their ophthalmologist, “should consider taking a supplement of antioxidants plus zinc such as that used in this study.”

Ginkgo Biloba. Ginkgo biloba protects against free-radical damage in the retina and improves blood flow in the optic nerve. This is a good thing because the retina requires a steady supply of oxygen and nutrients. In one study***, people with normal tension glaucoma who took 40mg of ginkgo biloba extract three times daily for four weeks showed “a significant improvement in visual fields indices.”

Want to add these natural, eye health supplements to your regimen? 

*http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16075680
**http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11594942?dopt=Citation
***http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12578781

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Healthy Recipes: Blueberry Maple Cornbread Muffins

by Health News

Here’s a creative, delicious healthy recipe that incorporates antioxidant-rich blueberries into your diet and support eyesight improvement!
Bilberry Maple Cornbread Muffins
Ingredients
1 1/4 cup corn meal
1 cup whole wheat flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg, well beaten
1/2 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup milk
3 tbsp melted butter or margarine
1 cup blueberries

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Mix the dry ingredients together.
  3. Stir in the other ingredients until well blended but don't beat.
  4. Grease a muffin pan.
  5.  Fill each cup in the muffin pan about 2/3 full.
  6.  Bake for about 20 minutes.
  7. Recipe makes 12 muffins.
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Healthy Diet for Eyesight Improvement

by Health News

Improve Your Eyesight NaturallyDid you know that your diet can help improve your eyesight naturally? Diets that are high in fruit, vegetables, fish and spices will be most helpful for improving your eyesight by providing your body with vitamins, minerals, carotenoids, and essential fatty acids.

Here is a list of four of the top natural remedies for eyesight improvement:

Omega 3 Fatty Acids - Most people eat seafood for their main source of Omega 3s. In particular, wild Alaskan salmon and sardines are recommended. You can also get Omega 3s in nuts and seeds, in particular, flaxseeds, walnuts and pistachios.

Antioxidants - Foods that contain beta carotene are also beneficial for the eyes. For example, pilots are often fed carrots to help with their night vision, as carrots contain a high percentage of vitamin A. In general, eating the mostly brightly colored fruits and vegetables will be the ones that are best for your eyes.

Lutein - most commonly found in egg yolks. If you don’t like to eat eggs, you can also commonly find lutein in supplements for vision. It also is available in green vegetables like spinach and broccoli. Lutein is actually found in the retina of healthy eyes and it acts as a shield against blue light, which is a harmful part of sunlight.

Spices - Turmeric, parsley and oregano are highly recommended. The good news is that spices are easy to incorporate into your diet and are virtually calorie free.

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Eyesight Improvement: Reduce Risk of Macular Degeneration

by Health News

It is believed that macular degeneration stems from oxidation caused by free radicals, which are a product of metabolism and are formed when ultraviolet and blue sunlight rays pass through the crystalline lens of the eye. Macular degeneration has also been linked to heredity, poor digestion and nutritional deficiency. Those afflicted with macular degeneration are often lacking in nutrients that are essential to eye health.  Certain nutritional supplements for vision have been shown to prevent or help stop the progression of macular degeneration.

Macular degeneration is a condition of the eye in which the cells in the macula slowly deteriorate and affect healthy vision. The macula is a small area located near the center of the retina. As vision is the sharpest in the macula, deterioration affects central vision, which impacts the ability to read and write, drive, and distinguish faces. Macular degeneration does not have an effect on peripheral vision.

There are two forms of macular degeneration: dry and wet, with 90 percent of people having the dry form.   With this version, small, yellow spots (or drusens) form underneath the macular. These are believed to be a byproduct of a lack of antioxidants which control impurities in those with healthy vision. The drusens cause progressive breakdown of the cells in the macular which result in distorted vision. Dry macular degeneration can lead to the much more serious wet form. With this form, atypical blood vessels appear and begin to grow toward the macular, causing swift and severe loss of vision.

According to a study published in the 2001 Archives of Ophthalmology, antioxidants and zinc are supplements for vision that appear to be an effective treatment for macular degeneration. It was shown that high levels of these supplements can significantly reduce the risk of advanced macular degeneration and resulting loss of vision. The Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) found that treatment with high doses of vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene and zinc reduced the risk of developing advanced AMD by 25 percent in those within a high-risk group. People within this group have intermediate AMD in one or both eyes or have advanced AMD in one eye. Subjects with early AMD or no AMD did not significantly benefit from the antioxidant and zinc treatment.

The study shows that nutrition plays an essential role in helping to maintain healthy vision in people with a high risk of developing advanced AMD. Other important supplements for vision and possible prevention of macular degeneration are vitamin B-complex, vitamin D, lutein, taurine, zeaxanthin, omega 3 fish oil, selenium, and plant extracts like gingko biloba and bilberry.

Sources:
http://www.naturaleyecare.com/diseases.asp?d_num=8

http://www.allaboutvision.com/conditions/amd-prevention.htm

Age-related eye disease study group. A randomized, placebo-controlled, clinical trial of high-dose supplementation with vitamins C and E, beta-carotene and zinc for age-related macular degeneration and vision loss. Archives of Ophthalmology. 2001.