Vegetable fats – a possible culprit
Dr Joanna Seddon of the Harvard Medical School discovered that a high-fat diet may be associated with an increased risk of developing wet AMD, after analysing the diet and health of over 800 patients with and without wet AMD. High intake of vegetable, monosaturated and polyunsaturated fats commonly found in snack foods such as potato chips, french fries, cakes, biscuits and commercially prepared pies, was associated with a twofold-increased risk of developing wet AMD, according to Dr Seddon’s study. High intake of linoleic acid, a fatThere are many different types of fats; polyunsaturated, monounsaturated, hydrogenated, saturated and trans fat. The body requires good fats (polyunsaturated and monounsaturated) in order to… also found in many snack foods, was associated with the greatest risk of developing wet AMD.
Conversely, Dr Seddon and colleagues found that individuals who consumed little food containing linoleic acid and who ate two or more servings of oily fish per week showed a lower risk of developing AMD. Oily fish are high in a fat called docosahexanoic acid (DHADHA is short for Docosahexaenoic Acid. It is an essential omega-3 fatty acid found in fish such as salmon, mackerel and herring, and is often…), which may have a healthful effect on blood vessels leading to the retina. DHA is also highly enriched in the retina and diets rich in DHA should lessen the risk of developing the disease. 
In a study of more than 4,000 people, researchers from Tufts University in Boston discovered that people who regularly eat high-glycaemic-load foods – white rice, pasta and bread – are more likely to develop AMD and diabetes. They estimated 20% of AMD cases could have been prevented had the patients eaten less processed foods. 
Eat up your carotenoids to increase visual performance
Two carotenoids present in the macula – lutein and zeathanxin – are powerful antioxidantAntioxidants are substances that protect cells within the body from damage caused by free radicals. They help to strengthen the body’s ability to fight infection… pigments which are also particularly rich in green leafy vegetables and brightly coloured fruits. Researchers from the University of Georgia concluded these carotenoids have a positive effect on the retina, reducing disability and discomfort from glare, enhancing contrast and increasing visual range. 
The carotenoidCarotenoids are the colourful plant pigments that make fruits and vegetables orange, red and yellow in colour. They are powerful antioxidants. Examples of carotenoids include… pigments appear to protect the retina and lens and perhaps even prevent age-related diseases such as macular degeneration and cataracts. Lutein is an oil-soluble nutrient, and if you merely consume vegetables without some oil or butter, you can’t absorb the lutein so well. So if you are consuming vegetable juice, it would be wise to add a splash of virgin olive oil to the juice to maximise your lutein absorption, as well as other important nutrients like vitamin KWhat it does: Blood clotting. Deficiency Signs: Symptoms include those of a purpuric syndrome, i.e., ecchymosis, petechiae, bruising, abdominal pain, risk of massive bleeding, cartilage…. Egg yolk is a highly bioavailable source of lutein and zeathanxin, whereas foods such as cantaloupe, carrots, sweet potato, yams and yellow squash are rich in beta-carotene, another carotenoid, but provide no lutein.
Lutein & zeaxanthin concentration in fruits & vegetables food per 100 g
|Kale, raw||39,550 mcg|
|Kale, cooked||15,798 mcg|
|Spinach, raw||11,938 mcg|
|Collards, cooked||8,091 mcg|
|Spinach, cooked||7,043 mcg|
|Lettuce, cos or romaine||2,635 mcg|
|Broccoli, cooked||2,226 mcg|
|Corn, cooked||1,800 mcg|
|Peas, canned||1,350 mcg|
|Brussels sprouts, cooked||1,290 mcg|
|Corn, canned, whole kernel||884 mcg|
|Beans, snap green, cooked||700 mcg|
(Source: American Macular Degeneration Foundation)
Nutritional supplements for AMD
You should aim to supplement around the following levels of key nutrients each day, probably via a multi and an antioxidant complex. Beta-carotene 625mcg; RE Vitamin A 650mg; Vitamin B1, B2, B3, B6, B12 100mg of each; B5 500mg; Folic acidWhat it does: Critical during pregnancy for the development of a baby’s brain and nerves. Also essential for brain and nerve function. Needed for utilising… 1,000mcg; Choline 100mg; Inositol 100mg; BiotinWhat it does: Particularly important in childhood. Helps your body use essential fats, assisting in promoting healthy skin, hair and nerves. Deficiency Signs: Dry skin,… 500mcg; Vitamin CWhat it does: Strengthens immune system – fights infections. Makes collagen, keeping bones, skin and joints firm and strong. Antioxidant, detoxifying pollutants and protecting against… 3,000mg; Quercitin 2,000mg; Rutin 300mg; Vitamin DWhat it does: Helps maintain strong and healthy bones by retaining calcium. Deficiency Signs: Joint pain or stiffness, backache, tooth decay, muscle cramps, hair loss…. 5mcg; Vitamin EWhat it does: Acts as an antioxidant, protecting cells from damage, including against cancer. Helps body use oxygen, preventing blood clots, thrombosis, atherosclerosis. Improves wound… 500mg; N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC) 1,000mg; Alpha lipoic acid 200mg; MagnesiumWhat it does: Strengthens bones and teeth, promotes healthy muscles by helping them to relax, also important for PMS, important for heart muscles and nervous… 500mg; CalciumWhat it does: Promotes a healthy heart, clots blood, promotes healthy nerves, contracts muscles, improves skin, bone and dental health, relieves aching muscles and bones,… 500mg (men) 800mg (women); Coenzyme Q10 100mg; L-Carnitine 500mg; Ginkgo biloba 240mg; ZincWhat it does: Component of over 200 enzymes in the body, essential for growth, important for healing, controls hormones, aids ability to cope with stress… 30mg; Lutein 20mg; Zeathanxin 300mcg; Bilberry 300mg; Omega 3 oils 1,500mg; Omega 6 oils 1,500mg; SeleniumWhat it does: Antioxidant properties help to protect against free radicals and carcinogens, reduces inflammation, stimulates immune system to fight infections, promotes a healthy heart,… 200mcg; Garlic 1,000mg; Taurine 500mg; Lycopene 20mg.
(NOTE: where anti-coagulant, blood thinning medications are being taken, vitamin E, ginkgo biloba and essential fatty acidsEssential Fatty Acids (EFAs) are fats that must be taken in through the diet as they cannot be made by the body. Both omega-3 and…, which naturally thin the blood, are contra-indicated.)
What else can you to do to avoid AMD?
• Lutein supplements in a sublingual form sprayed under the tongue have a 100% take-up compared with only 10% from tablet form.
• Electrical stimulation, which encourages cellular regeneration, applies a microcurrent stimulator (MCS) to acupressure points around the eyes.
This treatment has produced much interest since Sam Snead, the retired professional golfer, had a series of MCS treatments which improved his vision, which had been weakened by MD. Dr John Jarding treated 35 macular degeneration patients with a controlled microcurrent and all subjects reported vision improvements.  For more information about products and training, see www.dovehealth.com.
• Keep your weight down. Research has found that overweight patients with AMD double their risk of developing advanced forms of macular degeneration compared with people of normal body weight. Yet performing vigorous activity more than twice weekly can reduce the risk of developing advanced AMD, compared with inactive patients. 
• Physical exercise of the whole body is known to enhance circulation, metabolismMetabolism is a term that is used to describe the chemical reactions that take place within the body’s cells. The body gets the energy it… and general well-being and keep eye tissue healthy.
• Specific eye exercises such as yoga, the Tibetan wheel, Cambridge Institute exercises, Chinese facial massage or the Bates method (see below) are well documented in popular books promoting better sight. However, because of impracticalities in devising double-blind study methods, there have been no conclusive clinical trials. But they are worthy of mention as, once learnt, they are easy to do, are totally cost-free, do no harm and may be beneficial.
• People with pale colouring should wear a hat with a brim to shade strong sunlight.
• Use an Amsler grid from your optician regularly. The grid consists of vertical and horizontal lines and deterioration of the eye can be indicated if any of the lines appear blurry or distorted in any way, as they do in the example illustrated below. (Source: National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health, Maryland USA)
Daisy, 82, had been suffering from AMD for six years. It affected her quality of life. She could no longer go shopping or enjoy her garden. In fact, she had tripped over several times and hurt herself quite badly. She was keen to try supplements to see if she could at least stop the disease progressing. Daisy had high blood pressure, high cholesterol and bone thinning and was taking several medications for these which could have aggravated her failing sight. She took a broad spectrum antioxidant capsule, a B complex, an essential fatty acid complex and made changes to her diet. Daisy stopped using margarine and swapped cow’s milk for oat milk.
After a few months she was able to reduce her prescriptions with her doctor’s help and felt confident to visit her local shops on her own. She has been so pleased with her progress, she’s persuaded her younger sister, who has just been diagnosed with AMD, to make some changes and take advice on supplementation. The best cure for AMD remains prevention. A diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables, together with optimal amounts of lutein together with omega 3 essential fatty acids, is the best hope for reducing the incidence of AMD in an aging population.The same advice applies to Juvenile-onset macular degeneration.
Cataracts can be prevented and reversed
When a cataract forms, a white cloud gradually develops over the normally transparent lens – initially causing blurred vision and near sightedness, eventually leading to loss of detail and ability to see images. There are various forms caused by metabolic disorders such as diabetes, medications, non-prescribed drugs, hypertensionHypertension is more commonly known as high blood pressure…., alcohol, tobacco, excessive ultraviolet light, radiation, trauma, malnutrition, chemical toxins and heavy metals – as well as the most common cause of ageing. Cataract surgery is an extremely lucrative business for surgeons but not without risk. And it isn’t performed until the cataract has become ‘ripe’, causing poor quality of life for patients while they are waiting. Then after surgery, many develop complications or need further surgery after a few years. According to the Review of Optometry, up to one in six people who undergo eye laser and Lasik surgery for all types of sight problems end up with complications that affect their eyesight.
Predominant complaints are of ‘Dry Eye’, astigmatism, double vision and loss of night vision. Surgery of immature cataracts should be deferred in patients who consume aspartame until abstaining from it for one to two months to determine if improvement occurs, according to Dr HJ Roberts of the Palm Beach Institute For Medical Research, a diabetic specialist and world expert on aspartame poisoning. 
Microwave ovens leak radiation which has found to be a direct cause of cataracts and other eye diseases.  As they also change the quality of proteins in foods, it would be best to avoid using them.
Heavy metals – lead and mercury particularly – are believed by some experts to be a significant factor in at least a third of cataract cases. Lead can get into the body via the water supply running through old pipes; mercury can build up from many sources, for example silver amalgam dental fillings that can leak many metals as well as mercury and contribute to serious health problems including damage to sensitive eye tissue. A hair mineral test can show toxicities, although mercury doesn’t always register high in hair even though it may be present elsewhere in the body in damaging levels.
A nutritional therapists will be able to interpret the results for you and advise ways to rebalance minerals. For more on hair mineral analysis, see Totally Nourish (look under Test Kits). Numerous studies since 1935 have shown that vitamin C has the ability to reverse the damaging effects of sugar on the eyes.  Vitamin E studies have also shown that a daily intake of 500mg reduces cataract risk by more than 50%. 
When it comes to diet, follow the suggestions below, and also aim to eat a low-GL diet (see further down for more on this):
• Particularly avoid all sugars and dairy products which naturally contain milk sugars as these destroy vitamin C and glutathione in the lens and stop the lens from keeping itself clear.
• Foods such as dairy, wheat and soya can cause sinus problems impairing blood flow from around the eyes, so it’s best to avoid these if you find you react.
• Fill your diet with antioxidant-rich foods such as plenty of yellow and orange vegetables, apples, garlic, onions, spinach, beans, tomatoes, celery and seaweed.
• Eyebright is known to be beneficial as a tea for cataracts and can also be used as an eyewash.
Nutritional supplements for Cataracts You should aim to supplement around the following levels of key nutrients each day, probably via a multi and an antioxidant complex.
Vitamin A 3000mcg RE; Beta-carotene 375-625mcg RE; Vitamin B complex containing 50mg of each; Vitamin C 3,000mg 4 times daily; Vitamin E 250mg; Zinc 50mg (maximum 100mg); Copper 3mg; Selenium 400mcg; Manganese 10mg; Glutathione 100mg; Grape seed extract 100mg; L-lysine 75mg; Omega 3 and 6 essential fatty acid complex 1,500mg.
(NOTE: where anti-coagulant, blood thinning medications are being taken, vitamin E and Omega fatty acids which naturally thin the blood, are contra-indicated.)
Glaucoma can appear at any age
Glaucoma is the third-leading cause of blindness globally. Most glaucoma sufferers have no symptoms or pain and many have 20/20 vision, but only when looking straight ahead. If not detected and treated, peripheral vision deteriorates until you are looking into a tunnel or worst still, go blind. In a healthy eye, the aqueous humour (the fluid that sits behind your cornea) helps transmit light rays to the retina. It drains into the bloodstream constantly and the right amount is replenished. Some people make too much aqueous humour, others have problems draining it – in either case, pressure can build up. This creates intraocular hypertension which damages the optic nerve affecting side vision. Narrow-angle glaucoma which can cause severe pain in or behind the eyes and is more common in farsighted people and women. This is a serious condition requiring medical help to quickly relieve intraocular pressure.
Poor circulation can inhibit eye drainage, while obesity, high blood pressure and arthritis increase risk of glaucoma. Adrenal exhaustion may also be a cause of glaucoma in some. MSG damage is also linked to glaucoma. In one study, Japanese researchers fed rats with monosodium glutamate (MSG) resulting in vision loss and thinner retinas.  Medication for glaucoma is usually given as eyedrops, often beta-blockers or corticosteroids, but all of them have dangerous side -effects to the body such as arrhythmias, central nervous system damage and even irreversible retinal damage. Alternative treatments include:
• The herb ginkgo biloba – this may have a protective effect on the optic nerve where glaucoma damage exists. A small study reported in Ophthalmology (Feb 2003) demonstrated that ginkgo biloba treatment improved ability to see a wider visual field in some individuals. Together with zinc, this may slow vision loss.
• Avoiding taking in fluids in large amounts, but rather having little and often throughout the day.
• Aerobic exercise and regular brisk walking – both have been shown to bring down eye pressure. 
Nutritional supplements for Glaucoma
You should aim to supplement around the following levels of key nutrients each day, probably via a multi and an antioxidant complex. Vitamin A and other carotenoids 625mcg RE; Vitamin B1, B2 and B6 50mg of each; Vitamin B12 50mcg; Vitamin C 50mcg; Vitamin E 335mg; Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) 150mg; Zinc 20mg; Selenium 100mcg; ManganeseWhat it does: Helps to form healthy bones, cartilage, tissues and nerves, stabilises blood sugar, promotes healthy cells, essential for reproduction and red blood cell… 4mg; Gingko biloba extract 100mg; Omega 3 and 6 essential fatty acids 1,500mg.
(NOTE: where anti-coagulant, blood thinning medications are being taken, vitamin E and Omega fatty acids which naturally thin the blood, are contra-indicated.)
Dry Eye: a common problem
With advancing age, the eyes produce about 40% less moisture. As well as feeling dry, symptoms of this can be that the eyes burn and constantly run with tears. Dry Eye can be caused by an under or over-active thyroid or other auto-immune diseases, where the soft tissues around the eye are attacked by the body’s antibodies, creating eyelid retraction and a staring appearance sometimes leading to double vision. Hypothyroid patients are always vitamin A deficient as they cannot convert beta-carotene to vitamin A, or vitamin A to the form used in the eyes if their zinc, iodine and B complex levels are too low. Boosting foods containing iodine such as fish, kelp and root vegetables is a good idea, but greens of the cabbage family should be avoided raw as they can slow the thyroid down.
In women over the age of 40, dry eyes together with dry mouth and a difficulty in swallowing is called Sjogren’s syndrome, an auto-immune disorder. There may be a connection with bacterial or parasitic infection and possible heavy metal and chemical overload, which a Nutritional Therapist can investigate. The oil glands in the eye that help prevent eyelids from sticking together depend on balanced hormone levels, particularly androgens and progesteroneProgesterone is one of the main female sex hormones….. To help Dry Eye, try:
• Herbs that help regulate post-menopausal hormones such as Damiana (Turnera diffusa and Turnera aphrodisiaca) and Vitex (Agnus Castus) – both have shown to be helpful for some women.
• Regular daily intake of fresh fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds.
Computer Vision Syndrome – have a break
Computer operators seem to suffer with more eye-related problems than other office workers. Symptoms can include headache, neckache, backache, light sensitivity, blurred vision, reduced colour vision, irritation and dry eyes. Some of the reasons can be poor workplace conditions, low oxygen levels, poor lighting and bad working habits. To help alleviate symptoms:
• Sit squarely facing the computer and aim to position the screen so it’s a little below your eye level.
• Blink very regularly to rest and wet the eyes.
• Take regular, full breaths to relax all your muscles and also raise oxygen levels in the bloodstream.
• Take a short break every hour and use the palming technique from the Bates method to increase eye responsiveness (see below for more on this).
• The lighting of your work area should be equal to the computer screen. Avoid shiny, reflective surfaces around you and bright glare from windows or lamps.
• Black letters on a white background work best for most people as this provides good contrast.
• Take a high-level antioxidant complex and a B complex daily.
Myopia – a working problem
Nearsightedness – good close vision but poor distance vision – is prevalent in societies where people do a lot of close work. It’s almost non-existent in uneducated cultures. Many adults are affected and it frequently starts in childhood. Computers and televisions are often the culprits. Studies with submariners whose viewing distance is no further than eight feet away for months at a time showed an increase in myopia. Sitting in a magnetic field, exposed to low-level microwaves, all day – which many people do in city offices – can cause blurred vision and damage to the retina, iris and macula. 
People with short-sightedness will often choose to wear contact lenses to correct their vision. However, these can create other problems. For example, contact lenses can accumulate specks of debris and bacteria causing eye infections. And wearers of extended-wear contact lenses have a tenfold risk of developing corneal ulcers, while users of disposable and soft contact lenses have a higher incidence of ulcerative keratitis. Laser, LASEK and LASIK surgery can reverse myopia – but are not without complications. These are often deemed minor by doctors but can seriously affect people’s lives, such as detached retina and long-term weakening and thinning of the cornea, leading to a risk of further myopia.
Claims against surgeons performing laser eye operations are soaring according to the biggest insurer of British doctors. A small study comparing the nutritional profiles of 24 children with myopia against 68 children with perfect sight found that the myopic children had a lower intake of essential nutrients, particularly total energy intake, proteinProteins are large molecules consisting of chains of amino acids. Proteins are essential nutrients for the human body – they are a building block of…, fats, vitamins B1, B2, C, phosphorus, cholesterol and ironWhat it does: As a component of red blood cells, iron transports oxygen and carbon dioxide to and from cells. Also vital for energy production…..  This malnutrition may be linked to gastrointestinal disorders such as fungal and parasitic infections which interfere with assimilation of nutrients contributing to poor vision. It’s worth taking the following factors into account:
• Since nutritional deficiencies play a major role in sight deficiencies, it is important to correct this before glasses are prescribed as these make the eye muscles lazy, causing the eye condition to get progressively worse.
• Poor night vision, or night myopia, can be caused by nutritional deficiencies particularly zinc. So eat seafood, nuts and seeds regularly.
• Dark blue berries such as bilberries and blackcurrants strengthen eye cells, help your eyes adjust to different light levels and reduce eye fatigue.
• Increase fibreFibre is an important part of a balanced diet. There are two type of fibre; soluble and insoluble. Insoluble fibre helps your bowel to pass… in the diet (ie brown rice, wholegrains, fruit and vegetables). And avoid sugars and processed foods.
• Follow suggestions for Computer Vision Syndrome.
Lattice degeneration – retinal holes or tears
As you age, areas of the retina can become thinner than normal, sometimes associated with sudden flashes of light inside the eye, often at night. The vitreous humour (the clear gel that fills the space between the lens and the retina of the eyeball) pulls on the weakened retina giving a flash of light or sometimes floaters, where spots before the eyes appear. As fluid can leak through the holes, this can lead on to retinal detachment, so it is important to have regular eye examinations. Both conditions are more common in nearsighted and protuding eyes, as the retinas are more highly stretched. It’s worth taking the following factors into account:
• High-impact and dangerous sports should be avoided if you have lattice degeneration.
• Wear good-quality ultraviolet filtering sunglasses in strong sunlight to protect the retina.
• Take vitamin A, C and a B complex daily.
Prescription drugs can damage eyesight
According to the New England Journal of Medicine, Fosamax, a bisphosphonate usually prescribed for osteoporosis, can cause serious eye problems – from simple blurring of vision to painful swelling, and, if left untreated, even blindness. Benzalkonium Chloride (BAK), a preservative in some older type eye drops for conjunctivitis, Dry Eye or glaucoma, can cause burning, itching and inflammation and comes with a caution to ‘avoid contact with eyes’! A listed side effect of Pfizer’s Viagra is blurred or blue-tinted vision and short-term sensitivity to light, but there have been dozens of cases of sudden acute permanent blindness within 36 hours of taking prescription impotence drugs.
Aspirin thins the blood but because it increases blood flow to the retina, can cause retinal haemorrhages so should be avoided. A side effect of many medications, especially diuretics and antihistamines, is Dry Eye. Steroids taken internally and externally are a typical cause of cataracts, as they block connective tissue metabolism throughout the body including the lens of your eye. Tranquilisers, antihistamines and oral contraceptives are also associated with a higher risk of cataracts and commonly prescribed statin drugs have a known side effect of cataracts. 
Finally, Aspartame (Nutrasweet), the artificial sweetenerArtificial sweeteners are a type of sugar substitute. Some sugar substitutes are natural, yet as the name suggests, an artificial sweetener is not – it…, is sometimes included within medications including capsules where it’s totally unnecessary, and as discussed earlier, can cause eye problems.
A special note about Vitamin A
Vitamin A is critical for the eye to function and essential for all retinal conditions, as it transforms light energy into nerve impulses. It maintains the mucous lining of the eye, supports tear production and prevents Dry Eye and night blindness. It is found as a readily absorbed, fat-soluble vitaminA fat soluble vitamin is a vitamin that dissolves in fat. It is possible to over-dose on such vitamins as they are stored in the… as retinol in animal tissues and as beta-carotene in plants, particularly apricots, cantaloupes, carrots, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, spinach, squash and broccoli. Beta-carotene converts to retinol in the liver. It’s impossible to overdose on beta-carotene from a food source or a natural supplement, although massive amounts may make your skin turn slightly orange. However, taking high doses of retinol for a long period can be toxic to the liver. The minimum RDA requirement for adults is 450mcg but therapeutic cases may need up to 30,000mcg. A sensible adult level would be between 3000 and 15,000mcg per day. Vitamin C helps prevent vitamin A toxicity. Seek professional advice if you are pregnant or likely to become pregnant, as excess vitamin A should be avoided.
Follow a low-GL diet for eye health
Keeping your blood sugar balanced is key to prevent excess sugar levels in the blood from damaging delicate eye tissues. So I suggest you follow my low-GL diet – see my Special Report for the basics, or invest in a good book such as the Holford Diet Low-GL Cookbook or Food Glorious Food if you like inspiration for recipes and meals.
More tips to keep your sight
• If you are a smoker, it’s imperative that you stop. Ask your doctor, pharmacy or nutritional therapist for advice. Avoid smoky atmospheres.
• Check your medications for side effects that affect the eyes and discuss any concerns with your doctor or pharmacist.
• Lower your total chemical burden. Chemicals in eye make-up can damage eye cells.
Use chemical-free make up by companies such as Green People or Lavera. Avoid personal hygiene products like soaps, shampoos and toothpaste that contain sodium lauryl sulphate, tetrasodium and propylene glycol which can cause eye irritation. Methyl parabens is also in many products and becomes stored in the body.
• Use chemical-free household products and use safe natural cleaners like bicarbonate of soda, vinegar and lemon juice; and avoid the toxic chemical fumes from air fresheners especially plug-ins which can poison the central nervous system and damage sensitive eye membranes. Avoid cleaning products and polishes such as aerosols and sprays as they are especially destructive to eye and lung tissue. Look for eco-friendly, chemical-free washing powders and toilet cleaners. Avoid perfumes as these are usually petro-chemical based and aggravate eye tissue. Occupational hazards from exposure to solvents including toluene to painters, sprayers, hairdressers, cleaners and laboratory workers cause vision impairment and poor colour vision. 
• The soot given off from the burning of paraffin candles is the same as burning diesel fuel. Air contaminants from candles, particularly scented ones, include lead, toluene, benzene, methyl ethyl ketone (MEK), and naphthalene found in paint, lacquer and varnish removers. Use beeswax candles instead.
• Avoid using toxic insecticides including animal flea sprays and back-of-the neck products.
• Full spectrum daylight bulbs are flicker free. Avoid fluorescent lighting and the new compact fluorescent light bulbs which can give off tiny amounts of mercury vapour.
• Only wear sunglasses in very strong sunlight, your eyes need certain wavelengths of sunlight for eye health.
• Sleep in total darkness to allow rods and cones in the retina to replenish. Constant light even at low levels disrupts hormone balances in the body leading to disturbed sleep, poor eye health and many other conditions.
• Trayner pinhole glasses help focusing problems such as far and near sightedness, computer strain, eye strain and headaches and presbyopia (difficulty reading small print).
Regular use builds up eye muscles and reshapes the eyes. Most people are amazed when they put pinhole glasses on for the first time and find they can instantly read small print and see sharply without their glasses. See www.trayner.co.uk for more information. Learn the Bates Method The Bates method of eye exercises is well worth learning to re-educate the muscles of your eyes safely. It is well known to help common eyesight problems such as long and short sight, astigmatism and old-age sight.
One of the simplest Bates exercises to do is palming to fully relax the eyes. Sit at a table to support your elbows. Be quiet and undisturbed, empty your mind. Warm your hands. Shut your eyes and cover them with your palms but do not touch your eyelids. Initially you are likely to see dull colour until your eyes become totally rested and your vision repairs. You should see total blackness eventually. Visualise seeing something jet black then picture a relaxing scene alternately. Take deep, slow breaths and relax all your facial muscles. Do this about eight times a day for about five minutes each time but even seconds are still valuable. Build up the eye muscles by looking up, down, far right and far left in turn, then centre whilst palming. Repeat ten times. Tromboning focuses on an object such as a pencil held at arm’s length. Slowly move this in towards the nose until it touches it, then move it out again. Focus on the pencil the whole time. Repeat ten times.
Sunning is another Bates exercise. Close your eyes facing the sun. Alternately allow the sun to shine on your closed eyes for five seconds, then place your palms over your closed eyes for five seconds. Repeat ten times. And finally… Please remember to discuss with your eye doctor before making any changes to exercise, medication and diet. Some supplements recommended for eye health are not suitable for pregnant women or women intending pregnancy, who should take advice from their doctor. For more information, you may find these books useful:
• Improve your Eyesight – A Guide to the Bates Method for Better Eyesight without Glasses. Jonathan Barnes. Souvenir Press
• Natural Eye Care – An Encyclopedia – Complementary Treatments for Improving and Saving Your Eyes. Marc Grossman, O.D. L.Ac & Glen Swartwout, O.D. Keats Publishing
• 10 Steps to Your Natural Eye Health. Robert Redfern. www.eyesight.nu This report has been written with Lynn Alford Burow DipION mBANT, a nutritional therapist specialising in eye health. For more information, see www.cinnamonhealth.co.uk.
1. Passive smoking almost doubles risk of degenerative eye disease, British Journal of Ophthalmology, 3 January 2006.
2. Marilynn Larkin, Vitamins reduce risk of vision loss from macular degeneration, The Lancet (2001), vol 358 (9290):1347.
3. National Eye Institute of America, Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS), Archives of Ophthalmology (2001), 119:1417-1436.
4. JM Seddon et al, Dietary Fat and Risk for Advanced Age-Related Macular Degeneration, Archives of Opthalmology (2001) 119:1191-1199.
5. Dr Billy R Hammond Jr et al, Eat fruits and vegetables for better vision, Institute of Food Technologists, Science Daily,19 Dec 2009.
6. Chung-Jung Chiu et al; Dietary carbohydrateCarbohydrates are the primary source of energy for the body as they can be broken down into glucose (sugar) more readily than either protein or… and the progression of age-related macular degeneration: a prospective study from the Age-Related Eye Disease Study, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2007), 86: 180-8.
7. EL Paul, The Treatment of Retinal Diseases With Micro Current Stimulation And Nutritional Supplementation, Presented to The International Society for Low-vision research and rehabilitation, Goteborg University (1997).
8. JM Seddon et al; Progression of Age-Related Macular Degeneration: Association With Body Mass Index, Waist Circumference, and Waist-Hip Ratio, Archives of Ophthalmology (2003), 121:785-792.
9. A Cutz A, Effects of microwave radiation on the eye: the occupational health perspective, Lens & Eye Toxicity Research (1989), 6(1-2): 379-86.
10. HJ Roberts, On the Use of Products Containing Aspartame (NutraSweet) by Persons with Eye Problems
11. SM Bouton, Vitamin C and the ageing eye, Archives of Internal Medicine (1939), 63:930-45. AND J Blondin et al, Prevention of eye lens protein damage by dietary vitamin C, Federal Proceedings (1986), 45:478.
12. JM Robertson, A possible role for vitamins C and E in cataract prevention, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (1991), 53:346S-351S.
13. H Ohguro et al, High levels of MSG can damage the retina, New Scientist and Experimental Eye Research, October 2002.
14. MS Passo et al, Exercise training reduces intraocular pressure among subjects suspected of having glaucoma, Archives of Ophthalmology (1991), 109: 1096-1098.
15. A Silk, Journal of Electromagnetic Hazard and Therapy, August and September 1998.
16. David A Goss et al, Clinical findings before the onset of myopia in youth, Optometry and Vision Science (1996), 73: 263-282.
17. McCarty et al, Risk factors for age-related maculopathy: the Visual Impairment Project, Archives of Ophthalmology (2001), 119 (10):1455-1462.
18. A Farrow et al, Investigating health effects of indoor chemicals from common household products in older people, Brunel University (2007).
Join the Conversation on our Facebook Page