Eyes

Eye diseases can occur at any age. They may stem from developmental problems in childhood or as the result of degenerative conditions as you age.

Description

For your information we have included a list of the most common eye conditions along with a short description.

Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

AMD is associated with aging. It gradually destroys the sharpness of your central vision. The greatest risk factor is age. If you are over 60 you are at a much greater risk than any other age group. Seeing objects clearly and performing common daily tasks such as reading and driving become more difficult and may lead to a loss of vision in one or both of your eyes.

There are 2 types of AMD:

  • Dry AMD - where an area of the retina becomes diseased;
  • Wet AMD – where new blood vessels begin to grow as the dry AMD worsens.

Clinical studies provide evidence that increased intake of lutein – a powerful antioxidant located in the macula of the eye - lowers the risks of AMD (The Institute fur Physiologische Chemie, Dusseldorf).

A further study provides scientific evidence that zeaxanthin, along with lutein, is important in stabilizing macular degeneration (The Medical Research Council Environmental Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton, UK).

Another 7 year study supplied by the AREDS (Age-Related Eye Disease Study) also proved that AMD can be reduced by more than 25% whilst taking certain doses of beta-carotene supplementation.

Amblyopia (Lazy eye)

Amblyopia is when the vision in one of your eyes is reduced because your eye and your brain are not functioning properly together.

Behçet's Disease of the Eye

Behçet's disease is an autoimmune disease (where the immune system attacks and harms the body's own tissues). This results from damage to blood vessels throughout your body, particularly your veins.

Bietti's Crystalline Dystrophy

Bietti's crystalline dystrophy (BCD) is an inherited eye disease, meaning that you receive one degenerative gene from either of your parents.

Blepharitis (Granulated eyelids)

Blepharitis is a common condition that causes inflammation of your eyelids.
There are 2 types of Blepharitis:

  • Anterior blepharitis, affecting the outside of the eyelid. This can be caused by staphylococcus bacteria or dandruff.
  • Posterior blepharitis, affecting the inner eyelid. This is caused by problems with the oil glands within the eyelid.

Cataracts

Cataracts is a condition where one or both of the lenses in your eyes clouds over causing loss of vision. If you are over the age of 60 you are at higher risk.

Special Note: Bilberry herbal extract has been particularly highlighted in studies to significantly slow cataract growth in up to 97% of cases.

Corneal Disease

Stemming from: Allergies, especially those relating to pollen, and Conjunctivitis (‘Pink Eye’), caused by bacterial or viral infection, or environmental irritants.

Dry Eye

This common eye condition produces fewer or less quality tears and is unable to keep its surface lubricated and comfortable, causing discomfort, eye weakness, redness and burning sensations.

Diabetic Eye Disease

Diabetes can cause major organ problems like heart disease, kidney failure, amputations and eye conditions, even blinding. It is therefore essential that people with diabetes take regular eye tests (at least once a year) with a professional ophthalmologist.

Eye problems that may affect people with diabetes include:

  • Diabetic retinopathy (damage to the blood vessels of the retina)
  • Cataract
  • Glaucoma (increase of fluid pressure inside the eye)

Retinopathy

A non-inflammatory degenerative disease of the retina, commonly found as a complication of diabetes.

Studies of patients with various types of retinopathy have been conducted in Europe to investigate the effects of anthocyanosides on the retinal vessels. They have resulted in showing a positive influence on permeability.

Floaters

Floaters are ‘specks’ that float about in your field of vision. They are small, dark, shadowy shapes. They look like spots that seem to move around in front of your eyes. As your look from one side to the other they appear to move with you and tend to ‘dart’ away when you try to look directly at them.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is where the normal fluid pressure inside your eyes gradually rises. It can result in optic nerve damage and eventual loss of vision.

Presbyopia

A slow loss of ability to see close objects or small print.

Retinal Detachment

A detached retina (the light sensitive part of the back of your eye) is where your retina is lifted from its normal position. Untreated it can cause permanent vision loss. In some cases there may be small areas of the retina that are torn. These areas can lead to retinal detachment.

There are three different types of retinal detachment:

  • Rhegmatogenous, where a tear in the retina permits fluid to get underneath allowing the retina to easily lift away.
  • Tractional, where scar tissue on the retina's surface contracts and causes the retina to lift.
  • Exudative, where fluid leaks into the area underneath the retina, usually a result of retinal disease and inflammatory disorders.

Usher Syndrome

Usher Syndrome is an inherited condition that causes gradual vision loss. It is caused by a group of diseases that cause night-blindness and peripheral vision loss as the retina degenerates.

Vitreous Detachment

Vitreous Detachment is where the vitreous (the thick jelly-like material that fills the back of the eye in front of the retina) slowly shrinks. Fibers pull on the retinal surface and break. It often affects people aged 50+ and is more common in people aged 80+. If you are nearsighted you are also at high risk.

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Statistics

US only

Over 2.3 million Americans are visually impaired; over 1 million Americans over 40 are blind from eye disease.

  • 17% of Americans aged 45 or older report some type of vision impairment. This rises with age to 26% at age 75 and older.
  • 5 million Americans have vision problems related to diabetes.

Further detailed and individual statistics tell us more...

AMD

25-30 million people are affected with AMD worldwide. (AMD Alliance International).

  • Women tend to be at greater risk than men.
  • Smoking increases the risk of AMD.
  • A family history of AMD puts you at higher risk of developing the disease.
  • Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness for people over 50 in the Western world).

Amblyopia (Lazy Eye)

This is the most common cause of visual impairment in children.

  • It affects 3 out of every 100 children.
  • If untreated it usually continues into adulthood

Biettis Crystallie Dystrphy

This condition appears to be more common in people of Asian background.

Diabetic Eye Disease

Between 40-45% of diabetics have some degree of retinopathy.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness in the United States.

  • Ethnic people over the age of 40 are at higher risk, as is anyone over the age of 60.
  • More than 1 million Americans are at risk of going blind from glaucoma.

Retinal Detachment

Retinal detachment is more common in people over 40. It affects men more than women and white people more than African Americans. You are more at risk if you are nearsighted, have a family history of RD, or have had other eye disorders or injuries.

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Causes

Many common causes, from medical conditions, prescription drugs to aging, have been noted and experts consider the nutritional detriment involved in all these areas of most importance. Clinical studies seem to back their findings.

The effects of vitamins, minerals, herbs and other nutrients continues to be studied to increase preventative abilities and find ways to reverse acute and chronic eye problems.

Glycation is also a major factor in a number of eye degeneration.

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Signs & Symptoms

Symptoms pertaining to eye health problems include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Vision distortion
  • Pain and redness in or around the eye
  • Night blindness, visual field constriction
  • Excess tearing, stinging, itching or light sensitivity
  • Red, swollen eyes or lids, dry eyes, eyelid or eye crusting.
  • Glare from artificial light, dull colours
  • A ‘waterfall’ or ‘halo’ effect in the peripheral vision
  • Watery discharge
  • Heaviness
  • Increased floaters
  • Light flashes
  • Corneal crystals (yellow, shiny deposits on the retina)
  • Headaches or tired eyes.
  • Mouth sores, inflammation in the eye and skin problems are also associated.

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Conventional Treatments

Common medications prescribed for eye disease are Corticosteroid Anti-Inflammatory Drugs, or Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs – equivalent to Ibuprofen preparations).

NB: NSAIDs and steroids can actually cause vision damage, especially if in the form of eye drops, nose drops or inhalants. Anything from dry eyes to glaucoma, cataracts and retinal hemorrhage. They have shown to elevate IOL (intraocular) pressure in the eye in approximately 16% of people, putting them at risk of serious eye deterioration.
  • Antibiotics - for certain bacteria, e.g. Sulfacetamide, Erythromycin, Gentamicin, Tobramycin, Ciprofloxacin, Ofloxacin.
  • Immune system suppressants.
  • Steroid eye drops.
  • Antihistaine decongestant eye drops.
  • Antibacterial / Antifungal treatments.
  • Glaucoma medications – Beta blockers (Tomfool, Metipranolol); Alpha agonists (Brimonidine, Iopidine); Prostaglandin analogues (Latanoprost); Adenergic agonists (Epinephrine, Dipivefrin).
  • Antivirals – Triflurthymidine, Adenine arabinoside and Idoxuridine.
  • Anti-allergy medications – Livostin, Patanol, Cromolyn, Alomide, Pheniramine.

Side effects
Medications of this nature may have many potential side effects, some even contradictory to their alleged action.

Typical side effects include:

  • Eye drops can cause ocular side effects such as redness, stinging, blurred vision, sensitivity to light and constriction of the pupils, as well as headaches, or even systemic effects such as stomach cramps, diarrhea and sweating.
  • Anti-inflammatory medications, corticosteroids may cause cataracts, glaucoma and other eye infections.
  • Decongestant drops (Visine, Murine plus) can cause a type of acute glaucoma.
  • Anaesthetic drops can cause severe damage to the cornea.

Beta-blockers (Timoptic, Betagan, Betoptic) may cause severe adverse reactions, such as slowing of heart rate, asthma attacks, drop in blood pressure, loss of memory and loss of sex drive in some cases.

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Natural Treatments

If you wish to ensure that you retain good vision throughout your life you must be acutely aware of the importance of prevention.

We know that exercise, good fluid and dietary intake, adequate sleep patterns, low levels of stress and a well chosen lifestyle are all good for our health generally and our eyes as a consequence. This is not enough however to ensure your eyes are protected against disease or hereditary weakness.

It is essential that your eyes are protected against free radicals, glycation and inflammation. This requires taking a number of natural ingredients that have been proven to help prevent the degeneration of the eyes, and other organs in the body as well.

We have listed below a number of natural ingredients which have supporting scientific evidence for eye health…

Lutein and Zeaxantin 2 essential and powerful antioxidants, highly concentrated in the macula (a retinal area responsible for central vision and high visual acuity) and having excellent benefits in macular degeneration and cataracts. Increased intake of Lutein and Zeaxantin helps to lower risk of age-related macular degeneration (ARMD). Studies conclude high supplementation lowers risk of cataract and minimizes the development of AMRD by more than 20%.
Bilberry Extract Contains bioflavonoids helping to strengthen capillary walls and protecting capillaries from damage. It has powerful antioxidant components that improve blood supply to the eyes, improving visual acuity, near-sightedness and night vision. High levels of tannic acid, cinnamic acids and isoflavones add to its eye benefits.
Molybdenum A trace element found in all tissues. It is a component required for the function of several essential enzymes. Molybdenum is amongst an expert list of 11 essential elements considered vitally important for human health. Deficiency of these elements has shown to result in many pathological conditions, including the development of cataracts. Trials in China prove this mineral supplement has a protective role against lens opacification.
Beta-Carotene Transforms to vitamin A and binds to a protein called opsin. It resides in the rods and cones of the retina (responsible for receiving light and sending this information to the brain to give us vision). It is needed to keep the photoreceptors firing. Lack of beta-carotene results in reduced vision, causing night blindness, visual glare and haze. Trials suggests that ingestion reduces risks of age-related macular degeneration (ARMD).
Glucosamine Important in several structures of the eyes. A sugar needed for vision, shown to favour the photoreceptor layer of the retina. Shown to counter fluid drain swelling, reducing high fluid pressure.
N-Acetyl Cysteine NAC is a powerful form of Cysteine. A powerful antioxidant scavenging free radicals in the eye and guarding against nitric oxide toxicity and reducing oxidant injury.
Vitamins B2 and B12 Helps maintain good vision and healthy skin, and is essential in reducing the aging process. Deficiency may cause eye problems, light sensitivity and blurred vision. Studies show the benefits of supplementation as part of the treatment for and prevention of retinal vascular occlusive disease.
L-Carnosine A naturally occurring di-peptide, diminishing oxidized proteins, preventing them from inducing cellular damage. Beneficial in diabetes, cataracts, in preventing cataract formation and in cross-linking of the eye lens and delaying vision senescence (the aging process in mature individuals). Studies show l-carnosine effective in 100% of primary senile cataract cases and 80% of mature senile cataract cases. Carnosine is the only effective nutrient for helping prevent glycation.
Omega 3 Fish Oil Essential fatty acids, especially DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) known for many health benefits. Research suggests positive influences in preventing AMD, retinitis pigmentosa and cataracts, also showing shorter recovery times from eye conditions. Studies reveal that Eskimos from Greenland have a lower incidence of glaucoma, attributed to their high consumption of Omega 3 fish oil fats, preventing optic nerve damage.

Individually these ingredients can help aspects of general eye weakness. However, for worthwhile disease prevention or treatment they need combining in specific dosages, together with trace elements such as essential minerals, active enzymes, herbal extracts and co-factors, to provide a powerful formula capable of delivering advanced nutrition to your body. Refer to recommended products.

If you already have a problem developing with your eyes try to locate quality carnosine eye drops. These can be very beneficial and are safer and more effective than conventional eye drops.

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