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Say Good-Bye to Dry Eye

Say Good-Bye to Dry Eye

Friday, January 12th 2007

Emotional stimulation is not the only reason for shedding a tear. Tears are essential for maintaining good eye health as they form the "tear film" that keeps the surface of the eye moist, aids clear vision, helps wash out dust and debris and protects against local infection.

Dry eye syndrome, the result of poor tear quality or insufficient tear volume, is becoming an increasingly common problem. Whist people over 40 and women are more commonly affected, this condition can affect people of all ages. You'll know if you have dry eye syndrome, the persistent painful, gritty, itchy, burning feeling is hard to miss. Though most people don't experience any long-term complications, if left untreated, severe dry eyes can lead to eye inflammation, infection and scarring on the surface of the cornea.

Age, poor eyelid function, imbalanced tear composition, blepharitis, contact lenses, eye surgery (including laser), certain medications, smoking and environmental factors can lead to dry eyes. Poor circulation and nutritional deficiencies are common problems that underlie many of these causes.

Tears are much more than just water. They're a complex matrix of water, lipids (fats), proteins, electrolytes, bacteria-fighting substances, enzymes and growth factors that help regulate the tear film, making the surface of the eyes smooth, clear and healthy. Some enlightened ophthalmologists are now recommending a wholistic approach to dry eye including broad spectrum mineral and essential fatty acid supplements and the herb bilberry.

Bilberry, the primary herb natural health practitioners turn to for eye disorders including poor night vision, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration and glaucoma, is also extremely good for dry eye syndrome.

Although the herb has been used traditionally as a food and medicine for thousands of years, the herb came into notoriety when British fighter pilots in the Second World War found their night vision noticeably improved after eating bilberry jam. Bilberries are rich in nutrients and nutraceutical constituents like anthocyanins that have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and circulatory stimulating properties. A good quality bilberry supplement can provide significant benefit to the health of the eyes in general as well as helping resolve some of the underlying causes of dry eye syndrome.

Reproduced unabridged from the January - March 2007 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 :

AstaZan
Bilberry
Carotenoid Complex
Eyebright Herb
Eye Health Pack
Herbal Eyebright
Eye Focus (Lutein)
Vision Defence
Weleda Soothing Eye Drops

Related health information can be found here:

Antioxidants
Bilberry to assist with eye problems
Cataracts
Eye Health
Gout
Haemorrhoids
Headache
Multivite - why taking a multivitamin and mineral supplement is so essential?
Night Blindness
Varicose Veins

Related articles can be found here:

Bilberry - A Major Antioxidant For the Brain and Eyes
Healthy eye & brain development for babies
Minerals: Critical for well-being
Amazing Metabolic Substance Brings Eye Help

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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