Bilberries may actually improve vision naturally on a few different fronts. While no solid studies have yet demonstrated this to date, there is significant anecdotal evidence to suggest that bilberries improve night vision. For example, during World War II, British Royal Air Force pilots noticed that when they ate bilberry jam before flying their nighttime missions, they were able to see more clearly, even on the darkest of nights. How does bilberry help with night vision? The anthocyanidins found in bilberries boost the production of a pigment that helps the eyes to adapt to lighting changes.
There is also evidence that bilberries help protect the eyes against macular degeneration (a major cause of blindness in people over age 50) and cataracts. While more research needs to be done to determine how helpful bilberries are for humans in this area, a Russian study* using rats, published in the journal Advanced Gerontology in 2005 suggests that long-term use of bilberry extract is helpful in preventing cataracts and macular degeneration.
So if you’re interested in improving your vision naturally, talk to your health care practitioner about adding bilberry to your nutritional supplement regimen. Bilberry extract is available in many health food and mainstream grocery and drug stores as a stand-alone product and in combination with other nutritional supplements.