While doing some research for my upcoming lecture, I came across an article called “Save Your Eyesight, Natural Ways to Protect Your Vision,” by Dr. Robert Abel Jr., which appeared in a special reports bulletin, a supplement to Bottom Line Publications. Dr. Abel is an ophthalmologist in private practice in Wilmington, Delaware. What caught my eye was the word ‘natural’. Dr. Abel recommends the following for his patients: 1,000 mg of vitamin C daily (vitamin C protects the watery portions of cells, preventing cataracts); 3,000 IU’s of vitamin A and 400 to 800 IU’s of vitamin E daily (A and E block free radicals in the cell membranes of the eyes); 1 cup of spinach or kale, three times a week (both contain lutein, which can reduce the macular degeneration, protects against cataracts, and helps with dry eyes; three to four six ounce servings of wild, cold water fish weekly. These fish contain good amounts of docosahexanoic acid (DHA). About half the retina contains DHA, a fatty acid that’s the main component of cell membranes. DHA improves circulation in the eye by decreasing the tendency of blood to clot and making blood vessel linings smoother. For healthy eyes, circulation is a must, so Dr. Abel suggests ginkgo biloba (120 mg, twice daily, but not if you already are taking a blood thinner), and 500 mg of magnesium (try black beans, nuts, or spinach). There are also some eye exercises I do my self. Slow/rapid blinking, and palming. Palming helps to relax the eyes-to do palming, cup your hand and place the cup over one eye at a time for 60 seconds. Since most of what we look at is within 20 feet, the muscles of the eye weaken. The following exercise helps to strengthen eye muscles: Look at an object 50 feet or more away. Then turn your head so that you can look at it sideways, upward and downward, covering the entire range of motion of the eyeball. I’ve been doing this latter exercise for a couple of months, and it is now easier for my eyes to focus when driving at night, reading, etc. And, wear UV-blocking sunglasses to relieve one of the major stresses on the eyes. Finally, several minutes a day of aerobic type exercise is great for circulation. Someone asked me once if I had to lose on of my senses, which would it be. Well, it certainly wouldn’t be eyesight.
Stay well, John R Blilie, M.S.