Protect Your Eyes, Eyesight

God has given us a variety of natural compounds that can slow, or counteract the degeneration of our precious eyesight.

God must be very concerned about His people having good vision, because He mentions the eyes more than 100 times in the Bible. And God promised in Psalm 91 that we will enjoy long life, and we're not going to have a dim vision of life caused by vision thieves!

Your eyes are a delicate and sensitive part of your body. Aging, pollution, excessive strain and sun exposure can weaken or damage them, or they may be at risk for long-term vision problems due to disease. Right now, three out of four people suffer from a vision problem of some form.

Cataracts are the number one cause of impaired vision among people 65 or older, with half of America's population developing cataracts between the ages of 65-74. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness in people over 50; one in three people will be diagnosed with AMD by the time they are 75. Both of these serious eye diseases are thought to be associated with the effects of free radical damage, to which the eyes are particularly vulnerable.

Other potentially devastating eye conditions include glaucoma, which is associated with increased pressure within the eyeball, and diabetic retinopathy, a common complication of diabetes.

The key to maintaining the wonderful vision God gave us is to aggressively try to do something preventive. God has provided just under 20 different vitamins, minerals, herbs, extracts and other nutrients in His plant kingdom that are specifically designed to protect and defend our eyes against a variety of attacks.

Lutein and Zeaxanthin – These nutrients make up the yellow portion of the macula. They act as natural sun blockers, screening out the most dangerous UV rays to protect the sensitive parts of the eye. Macular degeneration is directly related to the lack of lutein and zeaxanthin. Lutein may also protect eyes against the effects of long-term computer use.

Bilberries – High in a bioflavonoid complex, bilberries are potent antioxidants that speed the regeneration of rhodopsin, the purple pigment that is used by the rods in the eye for night vision. Bilberries, along with their cousins blueberries, can also protect both the lens and retina from oxidative damage, which may make them useful for reducing the risk of cataracts, while improving night vision and helping the eyes adjust to bright light.

Glutathione – The lens of the eye depends on this antioxidant coenzyme for maintenance of its protein structure. Glutathione also protects the sulfur-containing proteins from oxidizing; aids in the constant exchange of sodium, potassium and calcium moving in and out of the lens cells; and slows the breakdown of DNA, assisting in flexibility maintenance.

N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine – This nutrient helps maintain adequate levels of glutathione.

Ginkgo Biloba – This herb not only combats free radicals through its antioxidant properties, but it also improves blood flow to the eyes and improves cellular metabolism, bringing nutrients to eye tissue and removing toxins and wastes. Tests have shown that ginkgo extracts may protect retinal tissue against damage, and may help with early-stage macular degeneration.

Eyebright – Primarily used as a poultice for topical treatments of eye inflammation, eyebright can also be taken internally to protect against some of the symptoms of cataracts and macular degeneration.

Vitamins A, E and C and Zinc – In addition to being powerful antioxidant, vitamins A, E and C as well as zinc can help reduce uncomfortable intraocular (eye) pressure in those with glaucoma. Vitamin C also strengthens many body parts, including those located in and around the eye.

Alpha-Lipoic Acid (ALA) – Known as a universal antioxidant because it is both water and fat soluble, ALA is capable of regenerating other antioxidants that may be used up, deficient or inactive.

Pine Bark Extract/Pycnogenol – Research has shown that Pycnogenol may strengthen vascular cells in the eye to avoid the progression of retinopathies.

Taurine – This amino acid is found in the retinal area, and acts as a chemical protector for the nerve endings in the eye that are responsible for transmitting nerve impulses to the brain and forming images.

Quercitin – In addition to being beneficial to tear production, quercitin has repeatedly been shown to decrease cataract formation and help in the treatment of diabetic retinopathy by strengthening the blood vessels in the back of the retina.

Cruciferous Vegetable Complex – A combination of beets, broccoli, carrots, kale, parsley, spinach and tomatoes, this extract complex is high in lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamin C and vitamin A.

B Vitamins - A combination of folic acid and vitamins B6 and B12 may reduce the risk of any age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in women by 34%, and lower the risk of visually significant AMD by 41%.

Take the first step to protecting your eyes by eating a diet full of a variety of fruits, vegetables, including antioxidant-rich berries, citrus, and carotenoid-loaded orange and dark green vegetables. Other protective measures include wearing sunglasses outdoors to protect against UV damage, and maintaining a healthy weight to prevent diabetes.

You may also want to add a supplement to your daily nutritional program that has been specifically formulated to protect your vision. Our Vision Support provides 17 vitamins, minerals, herbs, extracts and other specialized nutrients that strengthen and support the eye, including those listed above (except the B vitamins and vitamin E, which are found in Basic Nutrient Support).

God wants you to enjoy comfortable and stable eyesight throughout your life. So do what you can in the natural to protect your vision, and God will do what only He can do in the supernatural.