Nutrition for Vision

While most people don't realize it, what you eat can affect how you see! Our eyes are as much a part of our bodies as any other organ, so they are influenced by our nutrition. New research has confirmed that nutrition can make a difference in our eye health. Most affected are conditions of Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD), Dry Eye Syndrome, Cataracts and Glaucoma. Dr. Anshel now lectures on these conditions and how to resolve them with proper nutrition.

Read More on Dr. Anshel's nutrition website >>

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Glaucoma (glaw-KO-mah) is a condition in which the pressure inside the eye (intraocular pressure) is markedly elevated, which prevents blood from reaching, nourishing, and circulating through the eye. This causes the eventual death of the optic nerve. Glaucoma is deceptive and dangerous. Most sufferers have few or no symptoms of the disease, which occurs in 1 to 2 percent of the over-forty population and is the common cause of blindness in the United States. A family history of glaucoma or diabetes, a previous eye injury or surgery, or the use of eye drops containing steroids are considered risk factors for developing glaucoma. It is also much more common in African Americans than in Caucasian Americans.

In a normal eye, the aqueous humor is produced and drained into the bloodstream at a constant rate so that you always have a fresh supply and always the right amount. It drains out of the eye through a little canal between the iris and the cornea. In glaucoma, either too much aqueous humor is produced, or the drainage mechanism has broken down and the fluid can’t escape fast enough. Either way, the increased pressure interferes with the blood circulation to and from the eye, and the result is damage to the optic nerve with increasing loss of vision. Peripheral vision is the first area of vision loss.

Sometimes, the doctor can see the blockage in the drainage channel. In this case, the glaucoma is called narrow- or closed-angle glaucoma. Often, however, the channel appears to be normal despite the elevated pressure. Here, the glaucoma is called open-angle.

Glaucoma can be treated with medications, surgery, or both. The medical treatment involves the use of one or more of the following—eye drops to constrict the pupils (when the pupil is constricted, the angle between the cornea and the iris is increased to allow better drainage of the aqueous fluid); eye drops to reduce the production of the aqueous fluid; and systemic medications to reduce the production of the fluid.

Surgery for glaucoma often involves the creation of new channels through which the aqueous fluid can escape. In another procedure, a laser is used to burn little spots into the area around the iris. As these burns heal, they form scars that pull the tissue in toward them. This contracting of the tissue around the burns opens up the meshwork of the eye and reduces the overall intraocular pressure by increasing the drainage of the aqueous fluid. The laser procedures for glaucoma are still being improved and are typically reserved for patients who do not respond to the other types of glaucoma therapy.

Prolonged stress and an inadequate diet over a long period of time are considered by many authorities to be the main causative factors in glaucoma. Prolonged stress leads to adrenal exhaustion, and exhausted adrenals are no longer able to produce aldosterone, which stabilizes the salt balance in the body. When too much salt is lost from the body, the tissue fluids build up and often will push into the eyeball, increasing the intraocular pressure, forcing the lens forward, and damaging the optic nerve. This closes off the drainage tubes, causing visual disturbances and distortions.

Here are some nutritional suggestions to support your eyes if you have glaucoma:

-Eat foods rich in carotenes and bioflavonoids, such as dark leafy greens, yellow and orange vegetables and dark berries.

-Avoid stimulating foods (sugar, refined foods), alcohol, drugs, smoking, coffee, salt and drinking too much water.

-Vitamin C- 500-1000 mg three times a day

-Vitamin E- 400-800 IU a day

-Vitamin A- 10,000 IU a day or beta carotene (25,000 IU a day), and thiamin (10 mg a day)

-Selenium- 200 mcg a day and zinc (30 mg a day)

-Omega-3 fatty acids- 300-500 mg daily

-Melatonin 2-5 mg before bed

-Ginkgo (120 mg two times a day) to improve blood circulation

-Bilberry 100-200 mg twice daily



   Chronic Eye Diseases

Macular Degeneration (AMD):

Dry Eye Syndrome:



The Immune System:


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