We often hear that eyes are the windows to the soul. But your eyes are also the windows to your overall health. An eye exam can detect simple near- or far-sightedness as well as more complicated eye diseases such as glaucoma, cataracts, and macular degeneration. An eye exam can also reveal high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes eye damage. All of these issues are a reflection of general health. But we know a healthy body starts with good nutrition. Eye Disease IQ
●Age-related macular degeneration (AMD), glaucoma, cataract, and diabetic retinopathy are the most common eye diseases in Americans age 40 and over.
●Blindness or low vision affects 3.3 million Americans age 40 and over. This figure is projected to reach 5.5 million by the year 2020.
●Blindness and low vision can lead to loss of independence and reduced quality of life.
●Cataract is the leading cause of low vision among all Americans.
●One in every 12 people with diabetes age 40 and older has vision-threatening diabetic retinopathy.
●AMD has two forms: wet and dry. Dry AMD is more common and results in gradual vision loss. Some people progress from dry to wet AMD with rapid vision loss.
●With dry AMD, you may notice print appears blurry, colors seem less bright, and your vision seems hazy.
●With wet AMD, the more serious form, there is abnormal blood vessel growth at the back of the eye that can leak blood and fluid. This blood and fluid can damage the macula. Straight lines or faces may appear wavy or you may have a central blurry or blind spot.
The Eyes Are the Window to Your Health
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is an eye disease that gradually destroys your sharp, central vision that lets you see fine detail needed for tasks such as reading and driving. AMD is the leading cause of vision loss in Americans 60 and older.
In addition to vision loss, AMD may be a sign of other health problems. In the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) published in the Archives of Ophthalmology, participants with advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD) had a higher rate of mortality. AMD was linked with heart disease deaths, and mortality rates increased with the severity of macular disease.
Fight Vision Loss With Antioxidants
The good news is your diet can make an impact on AMD and your general health. AREDS study participants who received zinc had lower mortality. Results also showed those who received antioxidants and zinc reduced their risk of AMD progressing from intermediate to advanced — saving their vision. (In a second phase of AREDS, researchers are studying the protective effects of Omega-3 and lutein against AMD.)
The study resulted in the creation of an AREDS formulation that included daily high-doses of vitamin C, vitamin E, beta carotene, zinc and copper. These are at levels higher than what people can achieve from diet alone.
Another study showed the importance of ensuring peopleinclude key antioxidants, such as vitamin C and zinc, in their diets to protect eyes against the damaging effects of blue light from the sun. A combination of blue light exposure and low intake of antioxidants was associated with the early stages of AMD in the study. Vitamin E and the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin were also shown to be important in the eyes’ defense system against the sun’s blue light.
In addition, the Eye Disease Case Control Study showed carotenoid levels were much lower in patients with AMD, emphasizing the importance of carotenoids in the diet. Reliv’s FibRestore®, along with Reliv Now®, Reliv Classic® and ReversAge®, are antioxidant-rich, with carotenoids, vitamin C and E, zinc and a host of other beneficial nutrients to support eye — and overall — health.
Pycnogenol May Help Prevent Diabetes’ Eye Damage
Diabetes brings a host of potential health complications, including kidney and/or heart disease and nerve damage. Another complication can be diabetic eye disease that can cause severe vision loss or even blindness. Diabetic eye disease may include a trio of vision problems such as:
●Diabetic retinopathy, which is damage to the blood vessels in the retina.
●Cataract, clouding of the eye’s lens that may develop at an earlier age in people with diabetes.
●Glaucoma, an increase in fluid pressure in the eyes that can damage the optic nerve and cause vision loss.
People with diabetes are twice as likely to get glaucoma. But Pynogenol®, an antioxidant extract from the bark of the French maritime pine tree, has been shown to protect the eye in the early stages of retinopathy by improving microcirculation, swelling in the retina, and vision.
Previous research has shown Pycnogenol reduces the progression of diabetic retinopathy so patients maintain their remaining eyesight. But this new research shows its benefit for preventing vision loss and improving vision in the early stages of retinopathy.
Pycnogenol is a key ingredient in several Relìv nutritional products including Reliv Now, GlucAffect® and the new Relivables™ Healthy Snack Bars.
Cataracts And Nutrition
Cataracts, the clouding of the eye lens, also respond to good nutrition. Results from the Blue Mountains Eye Study, published in the American Journal of Ophthalmology, showed long-term use of multivitamins, B group and vitamin A supplements reduced the prevalence of cataracts. In addition, folate and vitamin B-12 were strongly protective against cortical cataracts, which are often found in people with diabetes.
This study also found high dietary intakes of omega-3 reduced the incidence of nuclear cataract, a clouding of the center of the lens due to natural aging changes.
Focus on Nutrition for Eye Health — and Better Health Overall
Gilbert Matsuoka, OD, an optometrist in California and a Relìv Distributor, reported that some of his patients with macular degeneration, an eye disease, began using Reliv Classic®, Innergize!® and FibRestore® along with ReversAge® and noticed their vision improved. After 30 years in private practice, Dr. Matsouka is excited by the results they are seeing.
While Reliv doesn’t promise these kind of results, Dr. Matsouka’s patient experiences are just some of the exciting examples people around the world have shared with us. And these results aren’t surprising. Good nutrition affects every part of your body, including your eyes. By supplementing with Reliv nutritional products, you can feel confident you’re receiving high-quality, scientifically- tested nutrients your body needs for optimal health — from head to toe.
To Your Health,
Dr. Carl W. Hastings, Reliv Vice Chairman and Chief Scientific Officer