ParentCare » Vol. 46

Proper nutrition can treat and reverse common vision problems

HEALTHDrAbel2For 40 years, Dr. Robert Abel Jr. has dedicated his professional life as an ophthalmologist to preserving vision. As a founding partner in a large eye care practice in Delaware, he operates on 400 cataract patients a year, but he treats six times that number without surgery.

“We know that specific foods and nutritional supplements have value in treating specific diseases, and we also now know there are also certain foods and supplements that specifically encourage eye health,” said Abel, author of The Eye Care Revolution.

Abel said that by using an understanding of nutritional chemistry and other means, it is possible to control or eliminate many of the factors that contribute to the development of serious eye diseases.

  • Controlled clinical studies show that the risk of developing cataracts can be decreased by more than half by eating fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C, as well as the antioxidants vitamin A, E, lutein and glutathione boosters.
  • The risk of developing glaucoma can be lowered by consuming high levels of vitamins C and B12 and Omega 3s. Also, rhythmic breathing and avoiding blood pressure medications in the evenings can help lower the risk of developing glaucoma.
  • The risk of developing macular degeneration can be reduced by maintaining high levels of vitamins A, D, E, the carotenoids zeaxanthin and lutein, DHA and the amino acid taurine (found in egg whites).
  • Diabetic retinopathy can be delayed or prevented by consuming vitamin C along with alpha lipoic acid, Quercetin and other bioflavonoids.

What is the ideal dietary regimen for someone concerned about preserving or improving eye health?

  1. Cold water fish (sardines, cod, mackerel, tuna) are an excellent source of DHA, which provides structural support to cell membranes and is recommended for dry eyes, macular degeneration and sight preservation.
  2. Spinach, kale and green leafy vegetables are rich in carotenoids, especially lutein and zeaxanthin. Lutein protects the macula from sun damage and from blue light.
  3. Eggs are rich in cysteine, sulfur, lecithin, amino acids and lutein. Sulfur-containing compounds protect the lens of the eye from cataract formation.
  4. Garlic, onions, shallots and capers are also rich in sulfur, which is necessary for the production of glutathione, an important antioxidant for the lens of the eye.
  5. Non-GMO soy, low in fat and rich in protein, contains essential fatty acids, phytoestrogens, vitamin E and natural anti-inflammatory agents.
  6. Fruits and vegetables contain vitamins A, C, E and beta-carotene. Yellow and orange vegetables, like carrots and squash, are important for daytime vision.
  7. Blueberries and grapes contain anthocyanins, which improve night vision. A cup of blueberries, huckleberry jam or a 100 mg. supplement should improve dark adaptation within 30 minutes.
  8. Wine, known to have a cardio-protective effect, has many important nutrients that protect the heart, vision and blood flow.
  9. 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.
  10. Extra-virgin olive oil is a healthy alternative to butter and margarine.

HEALTHDrAbelAbel also recommends drinking six 8-ounce glasses of filtered water every day to keep properly hydrated, as water helps create the fluid in our eyes.

“While we should depend primarily on whole foods to meet our nutritional needs, we should use vitamins and supplements as an insurance policy,” Abe said.

For eye health, Abel has formulated a special multivitamin, Eye Complex CS, which contains important nutrients to support the retina and protect the lens of the eye.

 

Dr. Robert Abel Jr., is the author of The Eye Care Revolution, which teaches patients how to treat and reverse common vision problems, and he has written eight other books. Other information concerning eye care can be found on his website, EyeAdvisory.com.

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