Are you looking after your eyes?

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YOUR sight is one of the most dominant senses you possess, requiring the largest amount of sensory receptors. As we age, our eyes can start to deteriorate due to a combination of negative external and internal conditions, including harsh sunlight, UV reflection, nutritional deficiencies and even chronic diseases such as diabetes and atherosclerosis. Some degenerative eye conditions such as macular eye degeneration and cataracts are directly associated with ageing, and nutrient deficiencies play a large part in the process. A lack of some nutrients may contribute to glare sensitivity, poor day and night vision, near sightedness, irritation and redness, and a susceptibility to mild infections like conjunctivitis.
The most common degenerative eye conditions are… Cataracts: Imagine looking through glasses smeared with oil. White cloudy spots, called cataracts, sit on the normally transparent lens of the eye and cause a range of disruptive symptoms. Blurred vision, light sensitivity, faded or yellowed irises, poor night vision and seeing halos around lights are all symptoms of cataracts, the leading cause of blindness around the world.
Macular degeneration: Macular degeneration is like having a blurry dot right in the centre of your vision while peripherals remain unaffected. The macula is the area of the retina where images are focused. Macular degeneration is split into two categories, dry and wet. Dry macular degeneration is the most common type and occurs when retinal cellular debris is gradually accumulated, leading to a gradual loss of vision from the centre outward. Wet macular degeneration occurs when abnormal blood vessels leak fluid that damages the macula.
The good news is there are a number of herbs, vitamins and minerals that can help protect and nurture your eyes.
Bilberry is a key herb for the eyes and has long been recognised as a visual tonic. Bilberry jam was used by WW2 fighter pilots to enhance their night vision, a notion that has since been confirmed in clinical studies. Important components of Bilberry, known as anthocyanidins, help to protect against the collagen destruction that occurs in conjunction with cataracts, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy. Antioxidants are important for protecting the eye structures from free radical damage and collagen destruction. Helpful antioxidants include zeaxanthin, lutein, vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, zinc, and bilberry.

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