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Make the rest of your years
Best Years in Life
and Maintain Good Vision and Eye Health Naturally
by Tony Isaacs
Best Years in Life) A
number of conditions can lead to poor vision and eye
health, including near-sightedness, far-sightedness,
macular degeneration, presbyopia, glaucoma, astigmatism
and cataracts. As we age, we become increasingly
susceptible to many of those problems. However, contrary
to popular mainstream dogma, such conditions can be
prevented and often even successfully reversed.
most common vision robbing eye problems are:
Hyperopia, also known as farsightedness, is a defect of
vision caused by an imperfection in the eye, such as the
eyeball being too short or the lens not being round
enough. Hyperopia causes difficulty to focus on near
objects and, in extreme cases, may result in the
inability to focus on objects at any distance.
Myopia is the term for near-sightedness and is caused by
a focusing defect in the eye which makes far-away
objects appear to be blurred. This is due to the focus
point being a bit outside the eye lens.
Presbyopia, which literally means "old eye", describes
an inability to focus on close objects and is caused by
loss of elasticity of the crystalline lens with
Macular degeneration is a vision robbing disorder that
increases with age. The disorder damages the center of
the retina, which is called the macula, and makes it
difficult to see fine details. Eventually it can result
in blurring of the central vision. Notably, macular
degeneration is a common problem among diabetics.
Glaucoma refers to a group of eye conditions that can
lead to damage to the optic nerve, which is the nerve
that carries visual information from the eye to the
brain. In many instances, damage to the optic nerve
comes from increased pressure in the eye, also known as
intraocular pressure (IOP). There are three types of
glaucoma, one of which requires immediate attention:
* Open-angle glaucoma is
characterized by a gradual loss of peripheral (side)
vision which is referred to as "tunnel vision". Most
people have no symptoms until they begin to have
* Congenital glaucoma is characterized by cloudiness
of the front of the eye, enlargement of one or both
eyes, red eye, sensitivity to light and tearing.
Symptoms are usually noticed when a child is only a
few months old.
* Angle-closure glaucoma is a serious form of
glaucoma where there is sudden, severe pain in one
eye. Other symptoms can include decreased or cloudy
vision, nausea and vomiting, rainbow-like halos
around lights, red eyes and the eye feeling swollen.
The symptoms of acute-angle glaucoma may come and go
at first or may become steadily worse. Note:
Acute-closure Glaucoma should be treated immediately
as a medical emergency or else blindness may occur
within only a few days.
Astigmatism blurs your vision at all distances and it
occurs when the front surface of your eye (the cornea),
or the lens inside your eye, has a surface curvature
that is slightly different in one direction than it is
in the other. Instead of being even and smooth in all
directions, eye surfaces in those who have astigmatism
may have some areas that are flatter or steeper. Unlike
most other eye conditions, astigmatism is often present
at birth. It may also occur in combination with
nearsightedness or farsightedness.
Another vision concern as we age is the formation of
cataracts, which is a clouding of the eye's natural
lens. It is caused by the clumping together of proteins
in the eye which are normally arranged in a precise way
that keeps the lens clear and lets light pass through.
Though most eye problems are usually associated with eye
defects or age, problems focusing on distant as well as
near objects may also be due to bad habits that cause
loss of eye elasticity. Focusing for prolonged periods
of time on a fixed distance, such as looking at a
computer screen or reading for hours on end, is such a
practice. The focusing muscle in the eye tends to lose
flexibility with age anyway, but doing a lot of close-up
work or otherwise spending long periods focusing at
fixed lengths can cause the eye muscle to become
increasingly locked in a set position. As a result,
objects that are very close or very far, or both, may
become increasingly blurred. Taking breaks and focusing
far away can help prevent the problem and may even help
restore lost vision.
Exercises for the Eyes
Many people have found that regular eye exercises help
restore vision and prevent future vision problems. Such
eye exercises usually include alternating focusing on
distant and close objects, as well as focusing on
objects at different angles, and should be done with
corrective lenses removed.
For problems reading or otherwise focusing on distant
objects, noted health figure Deepak Chopra suggests
pinning up some reading material on the wall and then
moving back a little bit each day to read it. To enhance
reading and focusing at close distance, Mr. Chopra
suggests moving a bit closer to the pinup material each
Other suggestions from Mr. Chopra include doing the
following each day:
* With eyes closed, look in the
direction of the sun or a full spectrum light for 15
to 20 seconds.
* Continuing to keep eyes closed gently turn the
head away from the sun and back.
* To change the focal length of the lens & improve
the internal muscles of the eyeballs, look at an
object up close and then at a distance. For example
look at your hand 6 inches from your face and then
look at an object on the horizon. Repeat this
exercise for 15 times without straining.
* Blink eyelids hard and rapidly for 30 seconds.
* Look up and to the left and hold this fixed
position for 15 seconds.
* Look down and to the left and hold for 15 seconds.
* Look up and to the right and hold for 15 seconds.
* Look down and to the right and hold for 15
* Look directly to the right and hold for 15
* Look down to the end of the nose and hold for 15
* Look down toward the tongue and hold for 15
* Look upward and inward trying to look at the space
between the eyebrows and hold for 15 seconds.
Pinhole glasses (also known as stenopeic glasses) are
not actually made of glass but of an opaque substance
such as metal or plastic which have several small holes
the user looks through. The holes reduce the width of
the bundle of diverging rays coming into the eyes and
help offset refractive errors common to most eye
conditions. The improvement in visual acuity can be
2009, a study published in Opthamology found that
proper diet, especially a low glycemic index diet, can
be very helpful in preventing age-related macular
degeneration (AMD) and other sight-robbing diseases. The
nutrients that were found to be most protective in
combination with a low-glycemic-index diet were vitamins
C and E, zinc, lutein, zeaxanthin, and the omega-3 fatty
acids known as DHA and EPA.
Though there have been no formal studies, there have
been many anecdotal reports of improved vision from
people who regularly use sea vegetable powder
supplements and people who regularly consume super foods
powders. Both of those items contain a wealth of
vitamins, trace minerals, and phyto-nutrients which are
often lacking in most diets. Sea vegetables are
especially good sources of over 80 trace minerals that
are often missing in today's mineral-depleted soils.
Food Recommendations for Good Eyesight and Eye Health:
* Cold water fish (sardines, cod, mackerel, tuna.) are
excellent sources of DHA, a compound which provides
structural support to cell membranes and is recommended
for dry eyes. DHA is also used as a treatment for
macular degeneration and for sight preservation.
* Spinach, kale and green leafy vegetables are rich in
carotenoids, especially lutein and zeaxanthin. Lutein, a
yellow pigment, protects the macula from sun damage and
from blue light. Zeaxanthin is one of the two primary
xanthophyll carotenoids contained within the retina of
* Eggs are rich in sulphur, cysteine, lecithin, amino
acids and lutein. Sulphur-containing compounds protect
the lens of the eye from cataract formation. Sulphur is
also necessary for the production of glutathione, an
important antioxidant for the lens of the eye and the
* Garlic, onions, shallots and capers are also rich in
* Fruits and vegetables contain vitamin A, C, and E and
* Dark berries such as blueberries, blackberries, and
dark cherries are high in flavonoids and contain
anthocyanins which improve night vision.
* Wine has many important antioxidants and other
nutrients which protect vision, heart and blood flow.
Needless to say, moderation is always important.
* Nuts and berries are nature's most concentrated food
sources. Grains, such as flaxseed, are high in the
beneficial Omega-3 fatty acids, which help lower
cholesterol and stabilize cell membranes.
* Virgin olive oil is a mono-unsaturated oil and is a
healthy alternative to butter substitutes which contain
soy, corn or canola.
Vitamins for Vision and Eye Health
* Vitamin A is considered by many to be the ultimate eye
vitamin and is essential for the retina to function
properly. It is also necessary for the production of
rhodopsin, which is the visual pigment used in low light
levels. Vitamin A-rich foods include sweet potatoes,
carrots, mangoes, spinach, and cantaloupe.
Vitamin A also helps:
- Eyes adjust to light changes
- Moisten the eyes, which can enhance visual acuity
- Prevent the formation of cataracts
- Prevent blindness from macular degeneration.
* Vitamin C helps strengthen capillaries and builds
collagen. It helps maintain the shape of the cornea,
especially in cases of infection, and fights against
free radicals. Vitamin C also helps prevent cataracts
from developing due to UV radiation and oxidative
stresses. Healthy fruits and 100% fruit juices are the
best sources of Vitamin C.
* Vitamin E's antioxidant properties help protect
against cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.
One clinical study showed that vitamin E can cut the
risk of developing cataracts in half. Another showed
that the combination of vitamins C and E protected
against UV rays.
The richest source of vitamin E is wheat germ. Dark
green leafy vegetables (such as spinach, kale, and
collard greens), sweet potatoes, avocado, asparagus, and
yams are also good sources of vitamin E.
* B Complex vitamins are necessary for nerve functions,
especially vitamin B-12. The retinal receptor cells send
all their messages through nerve fibers into the optic
nerve and into the brain. 1000 mg of B-12, sublingually
(under the tongue), a day is recommended for people with
optic nerve disease or glaucoma.
B vitamins are abundant in meat and meat products such
as liver, turkey, and tuna. Other good sources for B
vitamins include whole grains, nutritional and brewers
yeast, molasses, potatoes, bananas, lentils, chile
peppers, tempeh, and beans.
Top Minerals for Vision and Eye Health
* Magnesium is important in nerve conduction and it
dilates blood vessels. It is especially important for
maintaining blood flow to the eye and brain in elderly
individuals with macular degeneration or diabetes, at a
time of decreased blood pressure because they are lying
* Chromium is vitally important in regulation of blood
sugar. The healthiest form of chromium by far is glucose
transfer factor (GTF) chromium.
* Selenium is a trace mineral that helps boost immunity
and fight off infections and it is an important
co-factor for vitamin E, iodine, and glutathione
reductase. Studies have identified low selenium levels
in cataract sufferers.
* Zinc is essential for the conversion of beta-carotene
into vitamin A. Our eyes contain the greatest
concentration of zinc in our body. It plays an important
role in the action of many enzymes present in the retina
and helps prevent cataracts and macular degeneration.
Note: supplementation of more than 30 mg of zinc daily
requires adding 2 mg of copper.
* Copper is essential for the production of collagen, a
component of connective tissues. Copper gluconate is a
readily absorbable form of copper that is one of the
most important blood antioxidants. It helps keep cell
membranes healthy and aids red blood cells in hemoglobin
Other Important Compounds for Vision and Eye Health
* Lutein, found in our retinas, is essential for healthy
vision. Lutein and a related dietary carotenoid,
zeaxanthin, accumulate within the retina and imbue a
yellow pigment that helps protect the eye. It lowers the
risk of cataracts and macular degeneration (low lutein
intake is implicated as a risk factor in age-related
macular degeneration) and may also help to prevent or
slow down atherosclerosis.
* Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) is a very important nerve
stabilizer and is helpful in diabetics, and in patients
with glaucoma, to protect their remaining optic nerve
* Dicosahexaenoic acid (DHA), with six unsaturated
double bonds, makes up 30 percent of the good fat in the
retina, brain and adrenal gland. Following objects at a
distance, driving and hand/eye coordination may all be
improved with the use of DHA.
* N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) is the primary component in
the production of glutathione, an amino acid and major
antioxidant in the lens of the eye. It is produced and
released by the liver. Besides helping protect tissues
surrounding the lens of the eyes, glutathione helps
fortify the cellular enzymes glutathione, reductase,
super oxide dismutase and catalase. Those are the
primary free radical fighting enzymes inside our cells.
*Glutathione has been linked in several studies with the
prevention of cataracts, glaucoma, retinal disease, and
* Rutin is also considered to be an important
nutritional compound for the eyes due to its ability to
Top Herbs for Vision and Eye Health
* Pycnogenol is a powerful antioxidant derived from
French maritime pine tree bark and the subject of more
than 180 studies. Of particular note is its ability to
reduce leakage into the retina by repairing capillaries
in the eyes. While still largely unknown to American
doctors, Pycnogenol is the leading prescription for
diabetic retinopathy in France.
* Coleus forskohlii, Pilocarpus jaborandi, and Triphala
have all been used to lower intra ocular pressure via
parasympathetic relaxation of the body. Triphala has
long been used in Ayurvedic medicine for the treatment
Saffron is better known as a kitchen spice which gives
curry its yellow color; however, it can have wonderful
results for eye problems, including cataracts. In
a recent trial, every participant who took saffron had
vision improvements and the researchers said the
aromatic herb "may hold the key to preventing the loss
of sight in the elderly". Notably, there have also been
reports of saffron significantly helping vision in the
instance of cataracts.
* Silymarin, the primary component of milk thistle, is a
major liver support compound. The liver is the key organ
for the eye, since all the fat soluble vitamins and
glutathione are stored there. The B vitamins are
activated in the liver. The eye is subjected to bright
light throughout the day and important ingredients for
repair are stored in the liver.
* Bilberry is high in a type of bioflavonoid that speeds
the regeneration of rhodopsin, the purple pigment used
by the eyes' rods. British air force pilots in World War
II ate bilberry jam to improve their night vision during
* Gingko biloba has been used for many centuries for eye
and central nervous system problems. It is a selective
cerebro-vascular dilator and seems to increase
circulation to the back of the eye as well as increasing
blood flow to the eye. It is also becoming an
increasingly popular adjunct in the treatment of macular
degeneration and glaucoma.
* Eyebright has been used for centuries to treat eye
irritation. The name is thought to have been given the
plant because of its valuable properties as an eye
medicine that preserved eyesight and so brought gladness
into the life of the sufferer.
Remedies for the Eyes
*Bentonite clay poultices have been used successfully by
many people with eye problems. Bentonite clay pulls out
toxins that cause any different eye issues and is
especially good for infections and eye strain. It has
even been reported to help restore vision in the
instance of cataracts
*Mix half a teaspoon of licorice root powder mixed with
half a teaspoon of honey and one fourth teaspoon of
clarified butter. Take the mixture twice daily with a
cup of milk on an empty stomach.
*Mix one-half to one liter of a combination of carrot,
celery, and parsley, and chicory juice to help nourish
the optic nerve and muscular system. Amazing results
have been reported using this formula.
*Use fennel eaten raw, made into tea or used as an
eyewash to help with vision problems, including
*Endive juice is considered to be a very effective
remedy for myopia. It can also be mixed with other
beneficial juices such as carrot, parsley, and celery.
*Cayenne is an anti-inflammatory for the mucus membranes
and it increases blood flow to the eye. Use only very
small amounts, well diluted with water in eye drop form.
*Use Coleus dropped directly into the eye to increase
blood flow to the eye and decrease intraocular pressure.
*Jaborandi is a herb that grows in the rainforest. It's
been used for well over 100 years in patients with
glaucoma and it contains pilocarpine, an alkaloid
compound which causes constriction of the pupils and
reduces pressure within the eye.
*Strange as it may seem, many report improved vision
from applying mustard oil to the soles of both feet
daily and at night.
Remedies Especially for Cataracts
*As mentioned earlier, there have been many reports of
saffron helping alleviate cataracts and restore vision.
*Place a few drops of raw organic honey (Manuka honey is
by far the best) in the eyes
twice or more each day. This is an ancient Egyptian
remedy which is reported to have benefited many people
*The use of carrots is considered beneficial in the
treatment of cataract. Take plenty of raw carrots daily
or else drink two glasses of fresh carrot juice, one
each in the morning and evening.
*Eat two or three cloves of raw garlic daily to clean
the crystalline lens of the eye. The cloves should be
*Extract the juice of pumpkin flowers and apply
externally on the eyelids twice daily to prevent further
clouding of the crystalline lens.
*Mix an equal quantity of aniseed and coriander powder
together with one teaspoon of brown sugar, and take the
mixture in doses of 12 grams in the morning and evening.
*Finely grind seven kernels of raw almonds together with
half a gram of black pepper and place in a half cup of
water. Sweeten with raw honey and drink the mixture to
help the eyes regain vigor and clarity.
*Twice daily, close your eyes and bathe them with hot
(but not scalding) water containing Epsom salts. In
addition, take an Epsom salts bath at least twice a
week. Remain in the bath from twenty-five to thirty-five
minutes till you perspire freely. After the bath, cool
When it comes to eye remedies, the best results may well
come from combining one or more of the suggested
final ingredients essential to improving vision and
maintaining eye health are patience and perseverance.
Most vision problems do not develop overnight and it is
unlikely to correct such problems overnight.
However, with patience and perseverance vision problems
can often be improved and perhaps even corrected
entirely. And, with good a good diet, habits and
other items such as those described in this article, you
may be able to maintain good eyesight for a long, long
Tony Isaacs is a natural health advocate and researcher and the author of books and articles about natural health including Cancer's Natural Enemy. Mr. Isaacs articles are featured at Natural News, the Health Science Institute's Healthiertalk website, CureZone, the Crusador, AlignLife, the Cancer Tutor, the American Chronicle, The New Zealand Journal of Natural Health and several other venues. Mr. Isaacs also has The Best Years in Life website for baby boomers and others wishing to avoid prescription drugs and mainstream managed illness and live longer, healthier and happier lives naturally. In addition, he hosts the Yahoo Oleandersoup Health group of over 2800 members and the CureZone Ask Tony Isaacs - Featuring Luella May forum. Mr. Isaacs and his partner Luella May recently began hosting The Best Years in Life Radio Show for BlogTalk Radio.