As the population ages eye health problems are on the rise. Diseases such as macular degeneration and cataracts have seen significant increases. This can rob people of their freedom and quality of life. Age related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness in people over 65. AMD occurs when the cells in the central part of the eye, known as the macular, begin to deteriorate. The result being a loss of sight in the central part of the field of vision, leaving peripheral vision intake.
There are two types of AMD; they are referred to as the dry and wet forms. By some estimates over 16 million people in the United States show the beginning stages of AMD. Fortunately, the majority exhibit the dry form which can be treated with diet and lifestyle changes. This form is not associated with blindness but if left untreated can progress into the wet form which is associated with blindness. The wet form of the disease leads to irreversible blindness in about 10% of patients.
There are several risk factors that can lead to age related macular degeneration. Some of these are heart disease, prolonged exposure to sunlight, eye color and gender. Anyone that feels they may have one or more or these factors should discuss them with their doctor.
Lutein can be found in green leafy vegetables such, as spinach or kale, as well as in egg yolks and fruits. It is not produced by the body and needs to be obtained from diet or supplementation. Large amounts of fruits and vegetables would need to be consumed in order to obtain the recommended daily amount of lutein. It is a carotenoid that acts as a powerful antioxidant to eliminate free radicals that can be harmful to our eyes. Carotenoids have shown benefits in reducing the risk of cancer, heart disease and eye disease and enhancing the body’s immune system.
A researcher at Harvard University first discovered the importance of lutein in protecting our eyes in 1944. Since that time there has been significant research done and is recommended by many eye doctors for their patients.
Kemin Foods recently did a study that found 91% of eye doctors believe that lutein plays an important role in promoting good eye health. In addition, 58% of those surveyed believe lutein is the best nutrient for promoting long term eye health. This survey consisted of 150 ophthalmologists and 150 optometrists in the United States about their perceptions of lutein
Lutein is found naturally in the macular of the eye. Have you ever known anybody that has fading eye color as they age? This is not due to age itself but a lack of lutein, which acts to filter harmful light from the eyes. You can think of it as a natural pair of sunglasses.
If you start using sunscreen and moisturizer when you are young it will help you preserve the natural and youthful appearance of your skin as you age. Assuming you are getting enough lutein from your diet and supplementation it will have a similar effect on preserving the good eyesight you have today. This is why even people with good eyesight now should make sure they are getting enough lutein. It has the ability to build reserves in the eye. Wouldn’t it be nice when your 60 to have the same good eyesight you had when you were 30.