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Keep Your Vision Clear With These Eye Care Basics

We all want to maintain good eyesight throughout our lives. But over time, our eyes become more susceptible to diseases that can lead to vision problems. Cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration are just some of the conditions that are associated with impaired vision.

A healthy diet and lifestyle—at any age—can help protect your eyes from damage. While smoking and exposure to excessive sunlight can increase your risks for these diseases, a diet rich in antioxidants can help lower your risks. Routine eye exams are a must when it comes to detecting problems, so see an eyecare professional regularly.

According to research or other evidence, the following selfcare steps may help maintain or improve eye health.*

Keep your lenses clear by limiting the damage that causes cataract, a condition that produces cloudiness in the eyes:

  • Load up on lutein—Supplement with 15 mg of this healthy antioxidant three times a week to improve vision in cases of age-related cataract
  • See what C can do—Help maintain antioxidant protection against cataracts by taking 500 to 1,000 mg of vitamin C every day
  • Enjoy an eye-healthy diet—Eat plenty of green, leafy, lutein-rich vegetables, such as spinach and kale
  • Say good-bye to smoking—Kick the habit to reduce the risk of oxidative damage that can lead to cataracts
  • Block those rays—Shield your eyes from excessive exposure to sunlight to reduce the risk of oxidative damage leading to cataracts

Macular degeneration
Keep your vision in good condition by taking care to prevent macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness later in life:

  • Love the lutein—Supply the eyes with this healthy antioxidant by taking 10 mg per day and eating plenty of green leafy vegetables
  • Seek support from a multi—Protect your sight by taking a daily multivitamin containing beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium, and riboflavin
  • Block those rays—Wear glasses that block ultraviolet to prevent eye damage that can contribute to macular degeneration
  • Go for the ginkgo—Get help for early stage macular degeneration by taking 120 to 160 mg a day of a standardized herbal extract
  • Say good-bye to smoking—Kick this unhealthy habit that has been linked to increased risk

Look out for the health of your eyes to steer clear of glaucoma, a condition caused by pressure within the eyeball:

  • Give C a try for healthier eyes—If you have glaucoma, with the approval of your doctor, reduce intraocular pressure by taking at least 2 grams a day of vitamin C
  • Go for the ginkgo—To improve vision in cases of normal tension glaucoma, take 120 mg a day of a standardized extract of the herb Ginkgo biloba
  • See an expert—Visit an ophthalmologist for regular eye exams that can detect the early signs of glaucoma

Return your retinas to better health. If you have diabetes or high blood pressure, your eyes could be at greater risk for retinopathy:

  • Load up on antioxidants—Under a healthcare provider’s supervision take 500 mcg of selenium, 200 to 400 IU of vitamin E, 10,000 IU of vitamin A, and 1,000 mg of vitamin C daily to combat free radicals associated with diabetic retinopathy
  • Get to know proanthocyanidins—Slow the progression of diabetic retinopathy by taking a daily supplement containing 150 mg of these powerful plant nutrients
  • Bring home the bilberry—Strengthen blood vessels in the eye and improve vision with this herbal remedy; take 320 mg a day of an extract standardized for 25% anthocyanosides
  • Say good-bye to smoking—Kick the habit to lower the risk of diabetic retinopathy

Keep reading for more details on these tips and for other diet and lifestyle measures that may improve eye health.

* These recommendations are not comprehensive and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or pharmacist.

Spotlight on key eye health supplements
According to scientific research, the supplements below may offer significant health benefits for these particular conditions. If you’re taking medications, please talk to your healthcare provider about possible side effects or interactions.

  • Vitamin C for glaucoma—Supplementing with vitamin C may significantly reduce intraocular pressure in people with glaucoma. Some healthcare professionals recommend anywhere from 2 to 20+ grams a day, depending on how much your digestive tract can tolerate. Higher quantities of C are thought to be more effective than smaller amounts. While not a cure for glaucoma, it may reduce and maintain pressure if taken regularly.
  • Ginkgo for glaucomaGinkgo biloba, an herbal supplement, is thought to partially reverse vision damage in people with normal tension glaucoma. Eyecare professionals may recommend 40 mg of a standardized extract, three times a day. The vitamins and herbs below are also thought to offer health benefits, although research findings may be preliminary, contradictory, or insufficient. If you’re taking medications, please talk to your healthcare provider about possible side effects or interactions.
  • Lutein for macular degeneration and cataracts—Your retinas rely on lutein—a powerful antioxidant—to filter out eye-damaging light rays. Studies show that lutein can help prevent or slow macular degeneration by preventing oxidative damage and it has been associated with a lower risk of developing cataract. In addition, supplementing with lutein improved vision in people with cataracts. Take 10 mg a day of lutein supplements, and also get some from eating spinach, collard greens, and kale.
  • Ginkgo for macular degeneration—For people with early-stage macular degeneration, ginkgo supplements may be an effective treatment. Many healthcare professionals recommend 120 to 240 mg a day of standardized extract, in capsules or tablets.
  • Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) for cataracts—Your eyes naturally contain glutathione, a hard-working, disease fighting antioxidant. Vitamin B2 is thought to help protect glutathione, and thus protect your eyes from cataracts. People with a vitamin B2 deficiency may benefit from supplements.

Copyright © 2009 Aisle7. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of the Aisle7 content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Aisle7. Healthnotes Newsletter is for educational or informational purposes only, and is not intended to diagnose or provide treatment for any condition. If you have any concerns about your own health, you should always consult with a healthcare professional. Aisle7 shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon. AISLE7 is a registered trademark of Aisle7.

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