Antioxidants and Eye Health

Counter free radical damage for eye health

Question: I’VE noticed that my eye health is deteriorating. My eyes often feel tired and watery after a long day of working on the computer, driving and watching movies. How can I keep my eyes healthy?

Answer: STRESS will definitely affect eye health due to free radicals that are generated. Excess free radicals can damage the lens of the eye. The retina is particularly susceptible to oxidative stress because of its high consumption of oxygen, its high proportion of polyunsaturated fatty acids and its exposure to visible light. Many studies have shown that retinal injury is attributable to oxidative stress and the antioxidant vitamins A, C and E protect against this type of injury. Bilberries, blackberries and blueberries contain anthocyanidins, powerful antioxidants which help prevent free radical damage to the eyes.

Bilberry contains collagen-stabilising properties and is responsible for maintaining the integrity of the tendons, ligaments and cartilage.

Bilberry extract has also been shown to hasten the regeneration of rhodopsin, a light-sensitive pigment found in the rods of the retina. Thus supplementation with this herb aids in day and night vision. For best results, take bilberry in combination with herbs such as eyebright, lycium (also known as kei chi) and spinach. You may take kei chi in your soup and other dishes but it is difficult to establish the therapeutic dose.

A good daily intake of fresh fruit and vegetables will supply the vitamins and minerals needed for maintaining the cell structure of the eyes. Carrots, spinach and other green leafy vegetables and colourful fruits and vegetables will help to provide carotenoid pigments necessary for eye health and help neutralise free radicals.

To relieve eye strain place slices of cucumber over closed eyes for 15 minutes. Relax your eyes after a long day at the computer.