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Eye stress, Diet and Addictions Can Lead to Cataracts

eye health eye stress eye nutrition

Dr. Sam Berne, through his expertise, shares some causes of cataracts and his recommended natural solutions.  Dr. Berne explains chronic stress, oxidative stress, low antioxidant levels and other health issues can lead to cataracts.   However, there are natural solutions to cataracts.   Boosting antioxidant levels, using anti-inflammatory eye drops and eating eye-healthy foods can help reduce the metabolic waste that clouds the eye lens.

 

 

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What Do Lutein, Meso-Zeaxanthin and Zeaxanthin Do?

natural alternative remedies for eye health

By now, you know all about antioxidants and how they can help your health. They protect your cells from damage caused by the free radicals from food, sunlight, pollution and bunch of other unavoidable things you come across daily [1]. But there are many kinds of antioxidants, and they all have a slightly different effect on your body.

Lutein, meso-zeaxanthin and zeaxanthin are antioxidants known as carotenoids. In case you don’t know, carotenoids are red, yellow and orange pigments that give certain plants their vibrant color [2]. Colorful vegetables like carrots, tomatoes and bell pepper, for example, are all high in carotenoids [2].

More specifically, lutein, meso-zeaxanthin and zeaxanthin are xanthophyll carotenoids or macular carotenoids. The term xanthophyll carotenoids refers to carotenoids that contain oxygen [3]. And the term macular carotenoids refers to carotenoids that are found in your eye [4]. Lutein, zeaxanthin, and meso-zeaxanthin are the only macular carotenoids [5].

Your body can’t produce macular carotenoids on its own, so you need to get them from food or supplements [6]. When you feed your body macular carotenoids, it uses them to supply the macular pigment in the center of the eye [6]. Macular pigment acts as a shield for the retina and more specifically the macula, the center of the retina. It protects the macula from damage caused by short, high-energy blue light wavelengths found in sunlight, computer screens, TVs, tablets, smartphones, LED lights and energy-efficient fluorescent bulbs [6]. It also fends off free radicals [6].

Having enough macular pigment in your eyes is incredibly important. It decreases your risk for age-related macular degeneration [7]. It also makes your eyes more resilient to the eye strain caused by overexposure to blue light [8]. Low macular pigment levels contribute to low chromatic contrast sensitivity too, which makes it hard to see the difference between colors (9;10). That’s why providing your body with the macular carotenoids it needs to produce enough of this protective pigment should be a top priority.

How can you get enough of these critical macular carotenoids?

You can get them from certain foods [11;12]. But since our modern agricultural practices have slowly stripped the soil of nutrients, the fruits and vegetables that contain macular carotenoids are gradually declining in nutritional value [13]. As a result, it can be hard to get enough macular carotenoids through food alone, which means you may want to try a macular carotenoid supplement.

Studies show supplements that contain macular carotenoids like lutein, meso-zeaxanthin and zeaxanthin promote healthy vision in many ways. They reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration, improve chromatic contrast and improve recovery from photo stress [14;15;16].

Many of these benefits occur because of how these antioxidants impact your macular pigment, which shields your eyes from blue light, among other dangers. So, consider trying a macular carotenoid supplement that gives your macular pigment the support it needs and your eyes the protection they deserve.

Sources:

[1] https://nccih.nih.gov/health/antioxidants/introduction.htm#about

[2] http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/dietary-factors/phytochemicals/carotenoids

[3] https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/neuroscience/xanthophyll

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15604618

[5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9176055

[6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3705341/

[7] http://www.bluelightexposed.com/#blue-light-and-macular-degeneration

[8] https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-07/oht-la071017.php

[9] http://bjo.bmj.com/content/bjophthalmol/early/2016/04/18/bjophthalmol-2016-308418.full.pdf

[10] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20394766

[11] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3705341

[12] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5331551/

[13] https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/soil-depletion-and-nutrition-loss/

[14] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25228440

[15] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26447482

[16] http://iovs.arvojournals.org/article.aspx?articleid=2212732

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What Are the Sources of Blue Light

blue light rays and eye damage

Nowadays, you’re bombarded by blue light. Every time you look at your phone, your TV, your computer, your tablet or spend time under an energy-efficient fluorescent bulb or LED light, you’re bathed in the short, high-energy wavelengths of blue light [1]

You’ve probably heard that all this blue light from electronic devices can interfere with your sleep and strain your eyes, and that’s true [2;3]. But not all blue light is bad.

The sun produces blue light too. When the blue light from the sun collides with air molecules, it casts blue light everywhere, and that’s why the sky is that beautiful shade of blue [1]. Like anything, blue light is okay in moderation.

In fact, during the daytime, blue light can have certain benefits. Studies show it can improve reaction time, increase your attention span and enhance your mood during the daylight hours [2]. The problems associated with blue light happen because we’re exposed to blue light all day long and all evening long too. Studies show that most people spend as much as 6 hours per day in front of electronic devices [4]. That’s a lot of blue light, and it can take a toll on our sleep-wake cycle and our eyes.

Exposure to any type of light at night decreases the amount of melatonin your body produces [2]. But research shows that blue light hampers melatonin production the most [2]. Melatonin is a hormone that plays a role in your sleep -wake cycle [5]. If you don’t produce enough at night, you’ll have trouble sleeping [6].

If you’ve ever spent a long day working on the computer, you’ve probably experienced the eye-related side effects of blue light firsthand. Too much blue light can strain your eyes, making them feel sore, irritated or dry. It can even contribute to more serious eye diseases, like macular degeneration [7].

Why is blue light bad for your eyes?

When you look at blue light, it penetrates your retina, the layer of tissue inside your eye that processes light and sends visual signals to your brain that tell you what you’re seeing [8]. Research shows that shorter wavelength lights, like blue light, are more likely to damage your retina [9]. These changes in your retina could contribute to macular degeneration, glaucoma or retinal degenerative diseases [10]

Part of the reason blue light damages your retina is because of its effect on macular pigment, protective pigments found in the center of your retina. Macular pigment is made up of three carotenoid antioxidants you get from your diet: lutein, zeaxanthin and meso-zeaxanthin [11]. Blue light can affect the amount of macular pigment you have in your eye, and low levels of macular pigment are associated with a higher risk for macular degeneration [11].

In today’s world, we’re confronted with so many sources of blue light daily that it’s hard to maintain moderation when it comes to blue light. So, what should you do about all the blue light in your life?

To keep your sleep-wake cycle on track, it’s wise to stop using electronic devices two to three hours before you head to bed. To protect your eyes, you can decrease your screen time as much as possible, and wear blue-light filtering, yellow-tinted computer glasses whenever you have to stare at screens for long periods of time [12].

These simple steps will reduce your exposure to blue light and decrease your chance of developing eye strain. But you can also promote eye health in other ways. Antioxidant supplements that contain lutein, zeaxanthin and meso-zeaxanthin are known to support good vision and help eyes age healthfully. However you choose to care for your eyes, make sure you’re protecting them from all that blue light they’re bombarded with daily.

Sources:

[1] http://www.bluelightexposed.com/#where-is-blue-light-found

[2] https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/blue-light-has-a-dark-side

[3] https://www.aao.org/eye-health/tips-prevention/should-you-be-worried-about-blue-light

[4] http://www.bluelightexposed.com/#bluelightexposed

[5] https://nccih.nih.gov/health/melatonin

[6] https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-topics/melatonin-and-sleep

[7] http://www.bluelightexposed.com/#where-is-the-increased-exposure-to-blue-light-coming-from

[8] https://www.healthline.com/human-body-maps/retina#1

[9] https://www.aoa.org/Documents/CRG/Blue%20Light%20and%20Eye%20Damage.pdf

[10] http://www.bluelightexposed.com/#blue-light-and-macular-degeneration

[11] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3725486/

[12] https://www.preventblindness.org/blue-light-and-your-eyes

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What is Chromatic Contrast Sensitivity?

chromatic contrast and visible light spectrum

What is Chromatic Contrast Sensitivity?

As you age, your eyes go through a lot of changes. You may notice, for example, that you have a harder time seeing in dim lights, driving at night or seeing when there’s a glare. This means you’re experiencing a decrease in luminescence or light/dark contrast sensitivity [1]. When this happens, you struggle to see an object as the lighting changes intensity [2].

But there’s another type of contrast sensitivity that can change as you age: chromatic contrast sensitivity. Chromatic contrast sensitivity refers to your ability to see the contrast between colors [3]. As your chromatic contrast sensitivity decreases, colors look less vivid and the world around you looks a bit blurrier and less clearly defined. Think of it like watching a standard definition TV instead of a high definition TV.  Rather than being able to see every piece of stubble on a superhero’s chin like you could on a high definition TV, you can just barely tell that he has a 5 o’clock shadow.

Decreases in contrast sensitivity can happen for a lot of reasons. Contrast sensitivity tends to worsen naturally with age [4]. Excessive exposure to blue light from LED bulbs and digital devices like smartphones, tablets, computer screens and TVs can also negatively impact contrast sensitivity [5]. Worsening contrast sensitivity can even be a sign of more serious eye issues like cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration or diabetic retinopathy [4;6]. That’s why if you notice a change in your eyesight, you should head to your eye doctor to get your contrast sensitivity tested.

Doctors will typically use a Pelli Robson contrast sensitivity chart, which contains letters that are dark in color at the top and gradually get lighter in color toward the bottom. The lighter the letters get, the less they contrast with the white background, which means people with low contrast sensitivity have a harder time seeing them [7].

If you do struggle with low contrast sensitivity, it can negatively impact your life in several ways. It can make you uncomfortable driving at night. It can also put you at risk for injury, because it makes it harder to see things like curbs and steps, which increases your chances of falling [7].

Luckily, it is possible to improve contrast sensitivity. Doctors used to believe that once your contrast sensitivity worsened there was no going back, but recent research has proven otherwise [6]. In fact, a 2009 study found that playing video games, of all things, can improve your contrast sensitivity [8].

Research also shows that antioxidants like lutein, meso-zeaxanthin and zeaxanthin can support healthy contrast sensitivity [9; 10; 11]. That’s because these antioxidants are used to make something called macular pigment [12]. Macular pigment is a collection of carotenoids found in your retina [12]. It shields your retina from the harmful effects of blue light, which is why healthy macular pigment levels are associated with better overall eye health and contrast sensitivity [12].

Your body can’t produce the antioxidants used to create macular pigment on its own [13]. So, to make sure your macular pigment is plentiful, you need to supply your body with enough lutein, meso-zeaxanthin and zeaxanthin. Supplements are a great way to do that.  If you’d like to support your eyes with a carotenoid supplement, consider trying Lumi Shield, a liquid supplement that contains meso-zeaxanthin, lutein and zeaxanthin in the perfect, scientifically-backed ratio of 10:10:2.

If you’re looking for a quick fix for low contrast sensitivity, changing your eyeglass prescription can help counteract the loss of contrast sensitivity some too, and so can wearing yellow-tinted lenses in low light situations [6].

Contrast sensitivity plays an important role in healthy vision, so do what you can to improve or maintain your contrast sensitivity. That way you can continue to see the world the way it was meant to be seen—in vibrant color and high definition detail.

Sources:

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2932653/

[2] https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaophthalmology/article-abstract/2678792?redirect=true

[3] https://link.springer.com/referenceworkentry/10.1007%2F978-3-642-27851-8_17-1

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5384124

[5] http://www.pointsdevue.com/article/blue-light-scientific-evidence-patient-care

[6] https://www.aoa.org/Documents/optometric-staff/Articles/Contrast-Sensitivity.pdf

[7] http://www.allaboutvision.com/eye-exam/contrast-sensitivity.htm

[8] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2921999/

[9] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26720458

[10] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28425969

[11] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27367585

[12] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3725486/

[13] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3705341/