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Nutritionally Related Eye Diseases

Age-related Macular Degeneration is caused by the premature deterioration of the central part of the retina known as the macula. This specialized area of the retina, consisting mainly of cone photoreceptor cells, is responsible for sharp, detailed vision needed for reading, writing, seeing faces and other objects straight ahead. Photoreceptor cells cannot regenerate so it is important to protect them. Steps to aid in their protection include: eating a low glycemic impact diet rich in the nutrients lutein, zeaxanthin and omega-3 fatty acids.

 

A cataract is a clouding of the lens inside of the eye which can lead to decreased vision. Diets rich in the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, along with the omega-3 fatty acids, may reduce the risk of cataract formation.

Diabetes is a systemic disease that interferes with the body’s ability to use and store sugar. In the eyes, diabetes can affect the blood vessels that support and nourish the light sensitive, neurological tissue inside of the eye known as the retina. The damaged blood vessels are weak and can leak blood and fluid, causing swelling that result in Diabetic Retinopathy. Fluid can leak under the macula, causing swelling to this specialized area of the retina used for central vision. Macular Edema can result in blurred or lost vision and should be medically evaluated. Nutritionally, tighter blood sugar regulation decreases the risk for developing retinopathy as well as the severity of the retinopathy. Diabetics are forty percent more likely to develop Glaucoma. Diabetics have a sixty percent higher incidence of developing cataracts and are likely to develop them at a younger age.

 

Dry eye is a common condition where there may be a problem with your tears that usually keep your eyes comfortable and moist. Clinical trials have shown that omega 3, a group of fatty acids that we get from our diets, can have a positive effect on the symptoms of dry eye when taken in certain quantities.