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Saturday, October 1st 2005

Is your vision getting worse as you age? The loss of vision that many people experience with age is a health problem that robs victims of their independence and affects every aspect of their lives. Most are victims of cataracts or macular degeneration and most are told that it is simply a part of aging.


Cataracts are painless and develop very slowly in most cases. The increased density in the lens causes blurred vision, decreases the ability to recognise images and details and loss of colour values. New evidence is showing the importance of lutein and zeaxanthin in reducing cataract formation.

Macular Degeneration (MD)

A person with MD will have a blur or blind spot in the central line of vision. Objects directly in front appear to change shape, size or colour and may seem to move or disappear. Lines may become distorted. It is a frustrating condition that greatly affects day-to-day living. Like cataracts, studies show that exposure to ultraviolet rays from sunlight contributes to the development and progression of macular degeneration.

Eggs for lutein and eye health

Research on Lutein has become more intense over the past 10 years. Spinach contains a good amount of lutein. Egg yolks contain lutein and zeaxanthin. On average, egg yolks contain 30 mcg of lutein per 100 grams of yolk. Although lutein is found in spinach and leafy green vegetables, the body metabolises the lutein found in eggs more efficiently.

Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

The LAST study (Lutein Antioxidant Supplementation Trial) is the first trial to record actual improvement in several key visual functions among patients with AMD. The data was published in Optometry - The Journal of the American Optometric Association, April 2004. Patients ingesting the lutein supplement experienced significant improvements in several measurements of visual function including glare recovery, contrast sensitivity, and visual acuity vs placebo. Patients also experienced a 50% increase in macular pigment density relative to those on placebo.

People with AMD have lower levels of lutein in the macular region of the eye. Because human metabolism converts lutein to the proper amounts of zeaxanthin, lutein is the key carotenoid to obtain both lutein and zeaxanthin. Lutein is a potent antioxidant and researchers believe that the retina requires it for protection from the damaging effects of harmful blue light.

Reproduced unabridged from the October - December 2005 issue of Health and Herbal News, with the kind permission of Health and Herbs International Ltd.

Footnote from Ideal Health:

The following products are all useful for Eye Health:

Astaxanthin Advanced Immune Support
Bilberry Fruit Concentrate
Carotenoid Complex
Eye Health Pack
Eye Focus
Tebonin EGb761
Perfect Eyes with Lutein
Premium Vision Eyecare
Ginkgold Eyes
Weleda Eye Drops Euphrasia 3x

Related health information can be found here:

Bilberry to assist with eye problems
Eye Health
Free radicals and antioxidants
Night Blindness

Related articles can be found here:

Amazing Metabolic Substance Brings Eye Help
Bilberry - a major antioxidant for the brain and eyes
Healthy eye & brain development for babies

If you need help or advice, you are welcome to email our naturopathic team with your health question.

Disclaimer: The health information presented here has been written for the New Zealand health consumer. It is of a general nature and is only intended to provide a summary of the subjects covered. The information is not intended to be comprehensive or to provide medical advice to you. While all care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, no responsibility or liability is accepted, and no person should act in reliance on any statement contained in the information provided. All health ailments should be treated by a qualified health professional.


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