“Don’t Go BLIND!”
Tragically prevention is not how we take care of our health.
Regrettably, far too many find themselves saying, “If only I had just taken a little better care of myself. Maybe I could have even taken some eye supplements?”
“If there ever was a clear example of an ounce of prevention beating a pound of cure, it would be macular degeneration,” — Dr. Andrew Saul.
Instead, we put off in the distance the little things we can do which add up and make a difference.
With aging, we experience changes weakening our eyes and vision.
Common Age-Related Eye Conditions
- Age-Related Macular Degeneration
- Dry Eyes
- Temporal Arteritis
Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
The most common cause of blindness in the West is age-related cataracts and macular degeneration (AMD).
Meaning “spot”, “macula” refers to our retina wherein visual images are reflected on the inside of the back of the eye.
Eye Supplements for These Risk Factors
- High-Stress Levels
- Family History
- Low Dietary Carotenoid Intake
The Good News on Eye Supplements
There are steps we can take to improve our lifelong vision and eye health.
When one is diagnosed with macular degeneration, a doctor likely has already said there is no available medical treatment.
If vision loss is inevitable, then there is nothing left to lose in trying supplements and nutrition with open eyes.
While vitamins and supplements for eye health are controversial, studies confirm evidence of their eye health support.
With a review of the science, we can see a lack of dietary antioxidants increases our risk of premature retina aging and deterioration.
Most notably, The Eye Disease Case-Control Study along with others associates higher dietary intake of carotenoids with a lower risk for AMD.
Found in orange and green leafy vegetables, carotenoids are orange, red, and yellow organic algae, bacteria, fungi, and plant pigments.
Producing the renown bright orange, red, and yellow colors we see in carrots, corn, crab, flamingos, lobster, pumpkins, salmon, shrimp, and tomatoes, carotenoids are our bodies’ principal protective antioxidants
As AMD risk decreases by 50% with larger carotenoid blood levels, we are lead to believe consuming large amounts of carotenoids, especially vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein, and zeaxanthin.
#1 High-Quality Multivitamin and Vitamin E
Studies tell us AMD happens twice as often in those with low levels of vitamin E.
In a study involving 3,640 subjects, vitamin E, vitamin C, beta-carotene, selenium, and zinc lowers the development of advanced age-related macular degeneration by 25%, six years after showing initial disease symptoms.
While unclear whether the effect is from vitamins or greater vegetable intake, in a study with 37,000, a higher intake of beta-carotene is associated with a decreased risk of diabetes.
Taking a multi-vitamin allows full coverage of all essential and conditional micro-nutrients, including lycopene, and even traces amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin.
(Dosage and Use: A full-spectrum 2 per day high-quality multi-vitamin taken with food and 400 IU natural vitamin E.)
#2 Zeaxanthin and Lutein
Often together in eye formulas, we call zeaxanthin, and lutein the macular carotenoids, because of their presence in the human retina.
Able to increase macular pigment levels, we associate lutein and zeaxanthin with protective effects against light-induced damage along with AMD.
The Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 (AREDS2) finds 10 mg of lutein and 2 mg of zeaxanthin show skin tone improvement, sun damage protection, along with a lower risk of AMD and cataracts.
As we estimate the average American consumes 1 to 3 mg of lutein and zeaxanthin daily fact, 6 to 20 mg of lutein is connected with a lower risk of eye disease, while one may need much more to lower their AMD risk.
Broccoli, corn, durum wheat, egg yolk, grapes, honeydew melon, kale, kiwis, red peppers, spinach, and squash, are excellent food sources of lutein and zeaxanthin.
(Dosage and Use: just 5 grams of chlorella provides almost 18 mg of lutein, along with small amounts of zeaxanthin and alpha and beta-carotene. 5 grams of spirulina provides almost 4 mg of zeaxanthin. One could also use a lutein/ zeaxanthin eye formula of 10 mg and 2mg, with the lutein dose up to 40 mg.)
#3 Astaxanthin (Krill Oil or Vegan Algae Oil)
A red pigment found in algae, fish, and shrimp, astaxanthin is a potent antioxidant that can assist with skin aging, neuro, cardiovascular, and immune protection.
Astaxanthin is a 10 times stronger antioxidant than beta-carotene, canthaxanthin, lutein, and zeaxanthin, lutein, and 100 times more potent antioxidant than alpha-tocopherol, (vitamin E).
I’s structure allows it to enter cell membranes or remain outside of cell membranes, which serves to protect both inner and outer cell membranes.
Doses of 14 mg of astaxanthin increase blood flow to the eyes, without any effect to blood or intraocular pressure.
Krill oil itself, reduces dry eyes, inflammation, and redness in clinical trials.
Finally, not to be overlooked as a common nutrient deficiency, a study of 32,000 females shows low omega-3 intake associated with dry eye disease, eye pain, and vision loss.
(Dosage and Use: 4 mg of astaxanthin appears to be an effective dose. One can use krill or vegan algae oil or a standalone astaxanthin product. Read the label for sufficient astaxanthin content.)
#4 Ginkgo Biloba
Ginkgo Biloba is the top supplement for improving peripheral and brain blood circulation and pressure along with nerve health.
This super antioxidant plant lowers oxidation on several markers.
Improving eye blood pressure, microcirculation, pinkeye, and visual acuity, ginkgo is a serious eye health-promoting supplement.
Ginkgo improves blood flow in the eyes in multiple studies, supporting its potential to help with eye conditions such as glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy.
(Dosage and Use: a standardized extract or patented EGb 761 extract used 2 to 3 times daily)
#5 Anthocyanins (Bilberry)
As a flavonoid, anthocyanin-rich bilberries improve eye health and protect against multiple conditions including cataracts, eye fatigue, and glaucoma.
Excess screen time increases dry eye and eyestrain, lowering tear production and impairing vision.
Bilberry extracts increase tear production in multiple studies, while also improving focus adjustment and night vision with those with nearsightedness.
Improving retinal blood circulation and eye pressure in several studies involving healthy people, multiple types of bilberry extracts show consistent eye support results.
In animal studies, we see bilberry lowering eye inflammation and eye nerve damage from free radicals, UV radiation, and light exposure.
The clearest evidence suggests bilberry improves eyesight in glaucoma patients along with people who are frequently exposed to blue light.
(Dosage and Use: (100 to 500 mg standardized to 36% anthocyanins. Blood-thinning and sugar lowering can occur, as one should check for interactions in advance.)
Other Notable Eye Supplements
A special saffron extract, Afrin, degeneration (AMD), shows the improvement of AMD, blood flow, and vision in multiple studies.
Crocin is likely responsible for these results, presumably causing blood vessel dilation in the eyes.
(Dosage and Use: 20 mg Afrin.)
Melatonin promotes eye health, through its antioxidant action protecting against cellular damage and keeping our eyes healthy.
Our natural melatonin levels drop as we age, with research suggesting melatonin could be beneficial in treating eye conditions such as glaucoma and AMD.
Other studies show melatonin preserving vision in those with inflammatory diseases.
(Dosage and Use: 300 mcg is the minimum dosage, with many taking as high as 5 to 10 mg at bedtime. We should take melatonin 2 hours prior to bedtime.)
In the 1950s this combination of niacin and iodide was used to clear the cholesterol in the arteries in the back of the eyes.
As iodine homogenizes or dissolves fat, it also emulsifies floaters, while helping other eye conditions.
(Dosage and Use: IODO-niacin is 15 mg niacin and 120 mg iodide, taken 3 times daily. This is a liquid and tablet product.)
Patients seem to prefer natural sugar trehalose over commercial eye drops, as they report greater benefits not only placebo (saline) eye drops but also eye drops with either hyaluronan (Hyalein) or hydroxyethylcellulose (Mytear).
In multiple studies, adding trehalose to hyaluronate improved eye drops effects, while relieving dry eyes.
(Dosage and Use: Thealoz Duo is an over-the-counter dry eye product with trehalose and hyaluronic acid. It is preservative free and can be used with many contact lenses.)
Other Eye Supplements
Apples, red clover extract, sea buckthorn, cacao, cocoa, chocolate, black tea, green tea, matcha tea, grape seed extract, pycnogenol, pine bark, berries, pterostilbene, taurine, red wine, resveratrol, niacin, niacinamide, beta-carotene, vitamin B1, B2, B5, C, D3, K2, B-complex, lysine, proline, iodine, forskolin, tamarind, omega-3, fish oil, cod liver oil, citicoline, lecithin, palmitoylethanolamide (PEA), baiccalin, baicalein, NAC, TUDCA, ALA, DMSO, colloidal silver.
Conclusions on Eye Supplements
As we see the dietary intake of carotenoids low in the average diet, we are once again reminded of what we were told as kids, “you’ve got to eat your vegetables.”
If one is on a no vegetable diet, then supplementation becomes even more critical.
For those in higher-risk categories, supplementation can be valuable.
Taking a high-quality two-a-day multivitamin, krill or algae oil, chlorella, melatonin, and drinking antioxidant-rich matcha tea can be an effective health optimization strategy.
Those needing more support can consider adding extra vitamin E, ginkgo Biloba, bilberry, and saffron.
What do you do to support your eyes?
Your Friend in Health