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Eye Support

Any condition affecting the eye is classified as an eye disorder. Eye disorders can affect any part of the eye, including the eyelids, eyelashes, iris, pupil, lens, and the sclera (the “white” of the eye). Nerves, muscles, and blood vessels that surround the eye can also be affected by eye disorders.

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Eye disorders may include any of the following: vision problems, including astigmatism (vision difficulties due to a football-shaped cornea), diabetic retinopathy, myopia (nearsightedness), or hyperopia (farsightedness); conjunctivitis (inflammation of the conjunctiva); uveitis (inflammation of the uvea); keratitis (inflammation of the cornea); xerophthalmia (dry eye); glaucoma (an increase in intraocular pressure); age-related macular degeneration; and cataract (an opacity that develops in the crystalline lens of the eye).

Regular eye exams are imperative to detect vision changes early enough for successful treatment. It is best to have routine eye checkups every two to four years after age 40 and every one to two years after age 65. Recommended scheduled eye examinations include: before age five, toddlers should be screened for common childhood problems such as crossed eye, lazy eye, nearsightedness, and farsightedness; puberty to age 39, individuals should be checked if they experience any eye problems or visual changes such as pain, floaters, flashes of light, blurry vision, or eye injury; ages 40-65, individuals should get an eye examination every two to four years; and over 65, individuals should get an eye examination every one to two years. Those at higher risk for eye diseases need to be examined more often. For example, adults with diabetes should have yearly eye exams. Other people at higher risk include blacks over age 40 (due to an increase incidence of high blood pressure and diabetes), people with a family history of eye disease, or those with a history of eye injury.

Diet: Eating a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables helps to ensure that enough vitamins and minerals are consumed for use by the body and eyes. Some that are especially important to eye health include vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, and zinc. Antioxidants such as zinc have been associated in slowing the process of macular degeneration, the most common cause of blindness in the UK. Lutein is a naturally-occurring carotenoid found in green leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale. Lutein is used as an antioxidant and has been reported especially important for eye health.

Drinking fluids in small amounts over the course of a day can help individuals with increased intraocular pressure (IOP). Drinking a quart or more of any liquid within a short time may increase eye pressure. Limiting caffeine to low or moderate levels may be helpful.

References

  1. Catala, A. An overview of lipid peroxidation with emphasis in outer segments of photoreceptors and the chemiluminescence assay. Int J Biochem Cell Biol 2006;38(9):1482-1495. View Abstract
  2. Chiu, C. J. and Taylor, A. Nutritional antioxidants and age-related cataract and maculopathy. Exp Eye Res 2007;84(2):229-245. View Abstract
  3. Delcourt, C. Application of nutrigenomics in eye health. Forum Nutr 2007;60:168-175. View Abstract
  4. Evans, J. R. Antioxidant vitamin and mineral supplements for slowing the progression of age-related macular degeneration. Cochrane.Database.Syst.Rev 2006;(2):CD000254. View Abstract
  5. Hodge, W. G., Schachter, H. M., Barnes, D., Pan, Y., Lowcock, E. C., Zhang, L., Sampson, M., Morrison, A., Tran, K., Miguelez, M., and Lewin, G. Efficacy of omega-3 fatty acids in preventing age-related macular degeneration: a systematic review. Ophthalmology 2006;113(7):1165-1172. View Abstract
  6. Richer, S., Devenport, J., and Lang, J. C. LAST II: Differential temporal responses of macular pigment optical density in patients with atrophic age-related macular degeneration to dietary supplementation with xanthophylls. Optometry. 2007;78(5):213-219. View Abstract
  7. Seddon, J. M. Multivitamin-multimineral supplements and eye disease: age-related macular degeneration and cataract. Am J Clin Nutr 2007;85(1):304S-307S. View Abstract
  8. A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Clinical Trial of High-Dose Supplementation With Vitamins C and E, Beta Carotene, and Zinc for Age-Related Macular Degeneration and Vision Loss. AREDS Report No. 8. Age-Related Eye Disease Study Research Group. Arch Ophthalmol. 2001;119:1417-1436. View Abstract

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