There is not a week that goes by without either my wife or me complaining that our eyesight isn’t what it used to be when we were younger. In addition to pollution, sunlight, and inflammation causing ocular diseases, hours spent on the computer and its blue light emission is also taking a toll on my eyes. Fortunately, new studies published in 2014, and reported on in Life Extension magazine (winter 2014-2015), a class of nutrients has been found to target macular degeneration, cataracts, and other eye diseases which can cause vision loss.

These nutrients: Xanthophylls; lutein, zeaxanthin, and meso-zeaxanthin provide powerful protection against age-related vision loss.They can be found in supplement form or from foods (which I prefer, but don’t always eat enough of). I have no financial interest in any brands, but I use PURE brand. Recommended dosages are 10 mg per day of lutein, and 2 mg per day of Zeaxanthin. I do not know the dosage for meso-zeaxanthin as of yet. Food sources are: Orange, yellow, blue and purple fruits and vegetables. Kale, spinach, cantaloupe, squash, sweet potato, yams, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and carrots, to name some of the best.

Zinc and copper are also important for eye health. Zinc enables vitamin A to create a pigment called melanin, which protects the eye. Some studies show that getting enough zinc can help you see better at night. Be careful not to exceed 25 mg a day. Good food sources of zinc are: Leafy greens, asparagus, legumes, nuts and seeds.

Copper helps to inhibit the age-related progression of macular degeneration. Good food sources of copper are: Oysters, red meat and poultry are excellent; beans, nuts, whole grains, and dairy foods are good sources. 2 mg per day is the usual dose.

Vitamins C and E help protect the watery portions of the cornea and the retina. C is found in a variety of fruits and vegetables; vitamin E: Raw seeds, dark leafy greens, hazelnuts, and sunflower seed oil. Try for 400 IU’s a day.

Note: all of these nutrients are great for the eyes, but there is one thing that is more important; blood circulation. There are certain foods and herbs which increase vasodilation, or increased blood flow. Cayenne pepper, garlic, onions, rosemary, parsley, and ginger. The mineral magnesium is important for vasodilation, but be careful if you take a magnesium supplement-it can cause diarrhea. However, foods high in magnesium show no such effect. Some of the better foods for magnesium are: Artichokes, barley, oats, nuts, beans, pumpkin seeds, and dark leafy greens.

There are also supplements to increase vasodilation. Arginine, vitamin B3 (get flush-free), ginkgo blob, and hawthorne. Be sure to check with your doctor to make sure that the supplements don’t interfere with your medication(s).

If I had to lose one of the five senses, I think eyesight would be at the bottom of the list. How about you?

Stay well, John R Blilie, MN.S.