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Natural supplementation to support eye health

Thursday April 3, 2014 at 8:28am
Natural supplementation to support eye health

Problems with vision are set to double in Britain in the next 15 years thanks to our ageing population. With the number of sufferers predicted to rise from 2 to 4 million and controversy growing over the availability of the conventional drugs able to help it is more important than ever that we are well informed about how to look after our eyes.

Here we turn the spotlight on the most common eye condition for the over 50s age-related macular degeneration – and focus on a supplement that may be able to help.

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)

There are at least 26,000 new cases of AMD in the UK each year, each of which has a devastating effect on the sufferer’s life. The condition can lead to a loss of independence which can cause a patient to become housebound and eventually depressed.

AMD affects the macula, a small area located in the centre of the retina - the delicate tissue which converts light entering the eye into images and sends them to the brain. The macula is responsible for what we see straight in front of us, allowing us to view fine detail such as reading and writing and to see colour. In later life the delicate cells of the macula can become damaged and stop working, making it difficult for sufferers to read, drive or recognise faces.

Two types

There are two types of the condition:

  1. Dry AMD, the most common form, is caused by a slow breakdown of light sensitive cells in the macula. Central vision becomes blurred in the affected eye giving patients the feeling that their vision is slowly fading like the colours in an old photograph.
  2. Wet AMD, which affects 10 per cent of AMD sufferers, occurs when normal blood vessels behind the retina start to grow under the macula which causes bleeding and scarring and can lead to rapid loss of central vision.

Typical symptoms

  • Blurred or distorted vision
  • Straight lines may appear wavy or fuzzy
  • Objects may appear an unusual size or shape
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Seeing lights, shapes and colours that do not exist
  • A blank or dark spot in the centre of vision
  • Occasional discomfort, but AMD is not painful

Natural treatment

There is now much scientific data on three particular natural health products that may help with this condition: lutein, bilberry and grape seed.

Lutein, naturally found in dark green vegetables where it is thought to filter out harmful sun rays, is the most talked-about antioxidant of the moment. It exists naturally in the macula of the eye where it is partially converted into a component called zeaxanthin. Scientific research has shown that, when converted to zeaxanthin, lutein protects the eyes from oxidation damage by 'mopping up' free radicals and filtering out the harmful sunlight that damages the retina. This, in turn, is thought to protect against AMD.

The amount of lutein in the eye decreases with age and because the body can not make more the only way of replacing it is by taking a supplement. A study in 2004 showed that taking a lutein supplement improved the symptoms of AMD.

An increasing amount of research also seems to show that bilberry and grape seed may also be useful for the condition. Both contain chemicals called anthocyanidins which strengthen capillary walls, including the eye capillaries.

» Categories: Health News, Product Info


Thursday April 3, 2014 at 6:40pm by barry
I cant believe that you run an article on Lutein, and then your product finder says Nothing Known... Strange
Replied to on: Friday April 4, 2014 at 12:57pm
Hi Barry
We do indeed sell a Lutein Supplement - it is called Visisoft™ Lutein, it is one of the products which the Daily Mail has featured as one of their Top 5 eye care products. It may be that you were using our blog search instead of the product finder - I'm afraid there are legislative restrictions which mean we must keep them separate but we appreciate this isn't the most user friendly way!
Many thanks
Thursday April 3, 2014 at 10:39pm by jeff Wallder
Macula Degeneration is NOT the most common eye condition of the over 50s - cataract is far more common. Making obvious mis-statements like this undermines the credibility of your article.
Replied to on: Friday April 4, 2014 at 12:52pm
Hi Jeff,
Our articles are always based on research and the statement was based on findings by the Macular Society, this was in turn based on an article in the British Journal of Ophthalmology. You can read the article here I have also updated our article so that this can easily be read by other visitors.
Many thanks
Tuesday May 6, 2014 at 1:01pm by Catherine
Hi, I would like to order this product. The problem is, I'm on statins and read any form of grapefruit should not be taken with stains.... Does this apply to grape seed? Thank you.
Replied to on: Tuesday May 6, 2014 at 9:52pm
Yes, it is true that that Grapefruit can interract with certain medicines ( so you should avoid juice (and possibly extracts) of Grapefruit. Visisoft however contains Grape Seed Extract (i.e. from grapes, not grapefruit) so you are safe to take it.
Tuesday May 6, 2014 at 4:29pm by Gaynor Taylor
I cannot believe how people try to undermine your products when you are suggesting that they may help with eye health, have they nothing better to do?
Replied to on: Tuesday May 6, 2014 at 9:55pm
I guess the official line here is that we welcome all comments and try to answer them all, whether they are supportive or challenging! Thanks for your support though - greatly appreciated.
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