Our best preventative measures for preserving eyesight are regular comprehensive eye examinations and proper ocular nutrition. We’ve addressed the benefits of regularly examining the health of our eyes, so let’s talk about OCULAR NUTRITION– the OTHER sight saving preventative measure.
When mentioning nutrition, most people’s eyes roll up into the back of their heads, they have a seizure, or their mind goes numb. However, there is an absolute mountain of data available today telling us that an ounce of ocular nutrition prevention is worth several kilos of cure. We now know we can help prevent, and in some cases even reverse the tissue damage and sight loss that comes from macular degeneration, diabetic eye damage, dry eye syndrome, cataracts, glaucoma and more. Here’s some data to digest:
Omega-3 fatty acids
The active ingredient in fish oil, omega-3’s basically offer rebuilding blocks for damaged cells (every cell membrane in our body is built of omega-3’s) and lower our tissue inflammation. Omega-3’s are essential in the prevention of macular degeneration and in the treatment and prevention of moderate to severe dry eye syndrome. Evidence also exists that they help prevent diabetics from developing diabetic eye damage.
Carotenoids are the molecules that make our food colored. Over 300 are known to exist, and many of them help our bodies in various ways. There are three carotenoids (lutein, zeaxanthin and meso-zeaxanthin) that are absorbed directly into the retina where they prevent damage to the macula (the central retina responsible for our straight ahead, high definition vision). They also decrease light sensitivity and new research shows that they can actually improve central visual sharpness (yo mama was right- carrots ARE good for your eyes).
While many substances can act as anti-oxidants to scavenge or gobble-up those nagging free-radicals that seem to show up everywhere in our body, there are some good ones that we can obtain from just a routine multivitamin. Vitamins A, E and C and the minerals zinc, selenium and copper are particularly good at neutralizing the gazillions of free-radicals we obtain from the sun, metabolic processes, fried foods, etc. If you haven’t read about free-radicals, get online and do so. It’ll give you the willies.
Where can you obtain these supplements?
Omega 3’s are not found in great quantity in our diet, unless you eat a lot of fatty, cold water fish (tuna, salmon, sardines, cod, etc. – non canned). Most plant and land-animal sources are limited, so supplements are the way to go. Dr. Chandler feels like the preponderance of research indicates that average healthy adult needs to ABSORB (not just take, but actually absorb) between 1,300 and 1,500 mg of omega-3’s per day on average to offer long term preventative ocular maintenance. PLEASE ask Dr. Chandler about how you can obtain this much on an affordable, daily basis.
Carotenoids are the same: can get enough through fruits and vegetables to offer extra protection (you’d be eating broccoli every meal AND snack). But you can get these carotenoids through supplements, but you have to be careful: not all carotenoid supplements are the same. Only one brand today has ALL 3 of the carotenoids you need. PLEASE ask Dr. Chandler about the name of, and how to obtain, this very important supplement.
And finally, how ’bout them free-radical eatin anti-oxidants. Well, a well absorbing (gummy, chewable or softgel) multi-vitamin should do the trick. It’s wise to get a gender and age-specific formula, but brand doesn’t generally matter. There’s a joke that says, “the septic tanks of America are full of Centrum Silvers”. This means the tablet form doesn’t absorb well, so use their chewable, or find a better absorbing version or brand.
So, prevent away! Your vision will love it.