Free Shipping on orders over $99

Protecting eyesight with vitamins, minerals and Complimentary Medicines

Eyes, Age related illnesses, General | May 17, 2016 | Author: The Super Pharmacist

Eyes, general

Protecting eyesight with vitamins, minerals and Complimentary Medicines

For sighted individuals, it is hard to imagine a world with visual loss. As people age, however, the likelihood of sustaining at least some degree of visual loss increases. In fact, one in three people older than age 65 have some loss of vision. 

Some age-related problems with vision are easily corrected. Presbyopia and errors of refraction in the lens can be treated with eyeglasses, contact lenses, lens implants, or refractive surgery. The other major causes of visual loss are more difficult to treat.

The four major causes of vision loss are age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataracts, and diabetic retinopathy. We will review these eye conditions and discuss the safety and efficacy of non-traditional treatments.

Age-related macular degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss in individuals older than 65. It causes blurred vision, distorted image, difficulty reading, and central scotoma, i.e. “blind spot.” The risk of developing this condition increases with age, cigarette smoking, and high blood pressure. Age-related macular degeneration is likely caused, at least in part, by inflammation in the retina. 

Age-related macular degenerationA healthy diet that includes fruits, vegetables, fish, and nuts is associated with a reduced risk of developing age-related macular degeneration.  

People who followed a Mediterranean diet, lowered their risk of developing the eye condition over a period of 13 years in one longitudinal study.
Click Here For Article

A reduced risk of age-related macular degeneration is associated with intake of:

  • Carotenoids
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Zinc 
  • Lutein
  • Zeaxanthin 
  • Omega-3 fatty acid 
  • B vitamins, specifically folic acid, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12

Calcium supplementation may be associated with an increased risk of age-related macular degeneration.

Glaucoma

Open angle glaucoma, which is the most common form of glaucoma, is a slowly progressive chronic disorder that affects the optic nerve and leads to blindness if not properly treated. 

GlaucomaGlaucoma usually causes no symptoms early in the disease, but then causes a permanent and irreversible visual field deficit (i.e. blindness in one portion of the eye’s field of vision).

It is often, but not always due to high pressure within the eyeball. In fact, the precise cause of primary open angle glaucoma is not entirely clear. Nevertheless, medical treatments usually include drugs that lower pressure within the eyeball. 

Some observational cohort studies have shown that people more likely to develop open angle glaucoma have relatively low intake of: 

  • retinol equivalents (i.e. vitamin A)
  • vitamin B1 (i.e. thiamine) 

Other

Marijuana decreases intraocular pressure, but it is unclear whether this drug, which is illegal in many jurisdictions, actually decreases open angle glaucoma incidence.

Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) is widely used by glaucoma patients, but it is unclear whether this herbal remedy provides any clinical benefit beyond a slight improvement in night vision. 

Ginkgo biloba has been reported to improve visual field defects already present in individuals with glaucoma, but larger studies are needed. 

Lycium barbarum (Wolfberry) may protect the retina from destruction in patients with glaucoma, but clinical trials are needed to evaluate this assertion.

Increasing the risk of glaucoma are  the pro-oxidant supplements, specifically iron and calcium when taken at levels higher than recommended limits. Magnesium may also increase risk.
 

Cataracts

CataractsCataracts refer to an opacity or cloudiness in the natural lens of the eye that interferes with vision. 

Cataracts are the most common cause of blindness worldwide. 

The risk of cataracts increases with age, smoking, alcohol consumption, sunlight exposure, diabetes mellitus, and metabolic syndrome. 

The role of vitamin supplementation in cataract prevention is unclear, but a study has shown that people who took a daily multivitamin and a slightly lower risk (9%) of developing cataracts over the 11 years of the study. No large observational studies or clinical trials have yet evaluated the effect of herbal remedies on cataract development or risk.

Diabetic retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is one of the leading causes of new onset blindness in middle-aged people in Western cultures. Diabetic retinopathy causes blurred vision, "floaters,” visual field loss, and poor night vision. The risk of diabetic retinopathy increases with the length of time someone carries the diagnosis of diabetes mellitus.

Diabetic retinopathyThe risk of the eye condition is also increased with higher glycosylated hemoglobin (i.e. hemoglobin A1c) and poor diabetes control. 

Traditional approaches to preventing diabetic retinopathy are focused on controlling circulating blood sugars through diet and medications.

Of the various complementary and alternative medicine therapies for glaucoma, chromium  appears to have a positive effect on fasting plasma glucose levels in the blood. It is unclear, however, if chromium supplementation decreases diabetic retinopathy risk.

Other supplements that positively affect blood glucose levels, insulin resistance, and cardiovascular outcomes in people with diabetes include isoflavones, soy proteins, and vitamin E

Ginkgo biloba and Qi Ming granule, agents used in traditional Chinese medicine, have been suggested to improve retinal health by increasing capillary blood flow to the retina in patients with diabetic retinopathy. Unfortunately, there have been no clinical trials to evaluate this claim to date.
Click Here For Article on Diabetes

www.superpharmacy.com.au Australia's best online pharmacy

References

Quillen DA. Common causes of vision loss in elderly patients. Am Fam Physician. Jul 1999;60(1):99-108.

Reich J. Gradual loss of vision. Aust Fam Physician. Mar 1998;27(3):143-147.

Stevens GA, White RA, Flaxman SR, et al. Global prevalence of vision impairment and blindness: magnitude and temporal trends, 1990-2010. Ophthalmology. Dec 2013;120(12):2377-2384. doi:10.1016/j.ophtha.2013.05.025

Whitcup SM, Nussenblatt RB, Lightman SL, Hollander DA. Inflammation in Retinal Disease. International Journal of Inflammation. 2013;2013:4. doi:10.1155/2013/724648

Hyman L. Epidemiology of eye disease in the elderly. Eye (Lond). 1987;1 ( Pt 2):330-341. doi:10.1038/eye.1987.53

Boekhoorn SS, Vingerling JR, Witteman JC, Hofman A, de Jong PT. C-reactive protein level and risk of aging macula disorder: The Rotterdam Study. Arch Ophthalmol. Oct 2007;125(10):1396-1401. doi:10.1001/archopht.125.10.1396

Mares JA, Voland RP, Sondel SA, et al. Healthy lifestyles related to subsequent prevalence of age-related macular degeneration. Arch Ophthalmol. Apr 2011;129(4):470-480. doi:10.1001/archophthalmol.2010.314

Merle BM, Silver RE, Rosner B, Seddon JM. Adherence to a Mediterranean diet, genetic susceptibility, and progression to advanced macular degeneration: a prospective cohort study. Am J Clin Nutr. Nov 2015;102(5):1196-1206. doi:10.3945/ajcn.115.111047

van Leeuwen R, Boekhoorn S, Vingerling JR, et al. Dietary intake of antioxidants and risk of age-related macular degeneration. JAMA. Dec 28 2005;294(24):3101-3107. doi:10.1001/jama.294.24.3101

Schmidl D, Garhofer G, Schmetterer L. Nutritional supplements in age-related macular degeneration. Acta Ophthalmol. Mar 2015;93(2):105-121. doi:10.1111/aos.12650

Tan JS, Wang JJ, Flood V, Rochtchina E, Smith W, Mitchell P. Dietary antioxidants and the long-term incidence of age-related macular degeneration: the Blue Mountains Eye Study. Ophthalmology. Feb 2008;115(2):334-341. doi:10.1016/j.ophtha.2007.03.083

SanGiovanni JP, Chew EY, Agron E, et al. The relationship of dietary omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid intake with incident age-related macular degeneration: AREDS report no. 23. Arch Ophthalmol. Sep 2008;126(9):1274-1279. doi:10.1001/archopht.126.9.1274

Christen WG, Glynn RJ, Chew EY, Albert CM, Manson JE. Folic acid, pyridoxine, and cyanocobalamin combination treatment and age-related macular degeneration in women: the Women's Antioxidant and Folic Acid Cardiovascular Study. Arch Intern Med. Feb 23 2009;169(4):335-341. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2008.574

Kakigi CL, Singh K, Wang SY, Enanoria WT, Lin SC. Self-reported Calcium Supplementation and Age-Related Macular Degeneration. JAMA Ophthalmol. Jul 2015;133(7):746-754. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2015.0514

Weinreb RN, Khaw PT. Primary open-angle glaucoma. Lancet. May 22 2004;363(9422):1711-1720. doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(04)16257-0

Prum BE, Jr., Rosenberg LF, Gedde SJ, et al. Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma Preferred Practice Pattern((R)) Guidelines. Ophthalmology. Jan 2016;123(1):P41-P111. doi:10.1016/j.ophtha.2015.10.053

Maier PC, Funk J, Schwarzer G, Antes G, Falck-Ytter YT. Treatment of ocular hypertension and open angle glaucoma: meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. BMJ. Jul 16 2005;331(7509):134. doi:10.1136/bmj.38506.594977.E0

Ramdas WD, Wolfs RCW, Kiefte-de Jong JC, et al. Nutrient intake and risk of open-angle glaucoma: the Rotterdam Study. European Journal of Epidemiology. 2012;27(5):385-393. doi:10.1007/s10654-012-9672-z

Wang SY, Singh K, Lin SC. Glaucoma and vitamins A, C, and E supplement intake and serum levels in a population-based sample of the United States. Eye. 2013;27(4):487-494. doi:10.1038/eye.2013.10

Wang SY, Singh K, Lin SC. The Association between Glaucoma Prevalence and Supplementation with the Oxidants Calcium and Iron. Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science. 2012;53(2):725-731. doi:10.1167/iovs.11-9038

Wang SY, Singh K, Lin SC. Glaucoma prevalence and the intake of iron and calcium in a population-based study. Curr Eye Res. Oct 2013;38(10):1049-1056. doi:10.3109/02713683.2013.803124

Horowitz S. The Medical Use of Marijuana: Issues and Indications. Alternative and Complementary Therapies. 2014;20(6):320-327.

Wilkinson JT, Fraunfelder FW. Use of herbal medicines and nutritional supplements in ocular disorders: an evidence-based review. Drugs. Dec 24 2011;71(18):2421-2434. doi:10.2165/11596840-000000000-00000

Rhee DJ, Katz LJ, Spaeth GL, Myers JS. Complementary and alternative medicine for glaucoma. Surv Ophthalmol. Jul-Aug 2001;46(1):43-55.

Quaranta L, Bettelli S, Uva MG, Semeraro F, Turano R, Gandolfo E. Effect of Ginkgo biloba extract on preexisting visual field damage in normal tension glaucoma. Ophthalmology. Feb 2003;110(2):359-362; discussion 362-354. doi:10.1016/s0161-6420(02)01745-1

Mi XS, Zhong JX, Chang RC, So KF. Research advances on the usage of traditional Chinese medicine for neuroprotection in glaucoma. J Integr Med. Jul 2013;11(4):233-240. doi:10.3736/jintegrmed2013037

Foster A, Johnson GJ. Magnitude and causes of blindness in the developing world. Int Ophthalmol. May 1990;14(3):135-140.

West SK, Valmadrid CT. Epidemiology of risk factors for age-related cataract. Surv Ophthalmol. Jan-Feb 1995;39(4):323-334.

Lindblad BE, Hakansson N, Philipson B, Wolk A. Metabolic syndrome components in relation to risk of cataract extraction: a prospective cohort study of women. Ophthalmology. Oct 2008;115(10):1687-1692. doi:10.1016/j.ophtha.2008.04.004

Mathew MC, Ervin AM, Tao J, Davis RM. Antioxidant vitamin supplementation for preventing and slowing the progression of age-related cataract. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012;6:CD004567. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD004567.pub2

Christen WG, Glynn RJ, Gaziano JM, et al. Age-related Cataract in a Randomized Trial of Selenium and Vitamin E in Men: The SELECT Eye Endpoints (SEE) Study. JAMA Ophthalmol. 2015;133(1):17-24. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2014.3478

Christen WG, Glynn RJ, Manson JE, et al. A Multivitamin Supplement and Cataract and Age-related Macular Degeneration in a Randomized Trial of Male Physicians. Ophthalmology. 2014;121(2):525-534. doi:10.1016/j.ophtha.2013.09.038

Klein R. The epidemiology of diabetic retinopathy: findings from the Wisconsin Epidemiologic Study of Diabetic Retinopathy. Int Ophthalmol Clin. Winter 1987;27(4):230-238.

Klein R, Knudtson MD, Lee KE, Gangnon R, Klein BEK. The Wisconsin Epidemiologic Study of Diabetic Retinopathy XXII. The Twenty-Five-Year Progression of Retinopathy in Persons with Type 1 Diabetes. Ophthalmology. 2008;115(11):1859-1868. doi:10.1016/j.ophtha.2008.08.023

Millen AE, Klein R, Folsom AR, Stevens J, Palta M, Mares JA. Relation between intake of vitamins C and E and risk of diabetic retinopathy in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2004;79(5):865-873.

Millen AE, Gruber M, Klein R, Klein BE, Palta M, Mares JA. Relations of serum ascorbic acid and α-tocopherol to diabetic retinopathy in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. American Journal of Epidemiology. 2003;158(3):225-233.

Huang S-Y, Jeng C, Kao S-C, Yu JJ-H, Liu D-Z. Improved haemorrheological properties by Ginkgo biloba extract (Egb 761) in type 2 diabetes mellitus complicated with retinopathy. Clinical Nutrition. 2004;23(4):615-621.

backBack to Blog Home