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Give Your Eyes a Break

Give Your Eyes a Break

Monday, November 28th, 2011


Naturopath 200x300 Give Your Eyes a BreakWith the constant demand to spend long hours in front of the computer, combined with excessive television viewing and the increasing use of video games, we are now calling on our near sight more frequently than ever before. It is not surprising then that so many people suffer the symptoms of eye strain, including visual fatigue, irritation, redness, and burning of the eyes, as well as blurred or double vision. It is important to realise also that the impact of eye strain may extend far beyond the symptoms which are localised to the eye area, and may in fact result in physical and mental tiredness, as well as reduced workplace productivity. The good news is that there are clinically effective natural options available in order to optimise our patients’ eye health.

Introducing Phytonutrients for Eye Health

Ribes nigrum (blackcurrants), lutein (from Tagetes erecta, or marigold flowers) and zeaxanthin, along with zinc, vitamin E, vitamin B12, and folic acid, may aid in alleviating eye strain and reducing the risk of age-related eye diseases.

Ribes nigrum (blackcurrant) contains a variety of health-promoting compounds, including vitamin C, caffeic acid, several kaempferol and quercetin conjugates, and anthocyanins. The blackcurrant anthocyanins (BCA) in particular are potent antioxidants which have been shown in-vivo to have an affinity for the eye, having been detected in the aqueous and vitreous humor, cornea, sclera, iris, retina vitreous and lens.1

Evidence suggests that the use of blackcurrant, lutein, and zeaxanthin in combination may be particularly effective in reducing symptoms of visual fatigue. A randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in which participants took a combination of blackcurrant (containing 40 mg of anthocyanosides), along with 5 mg of lutein and 1 mg of zeaxanthin or placebo for two weeks, showed significant differences in the eye fixation related brain potential (an objective measure of visual fatigue), as well as psychophysiological indicators such as heart rate and blood pressure.2
These results have been reproduced in other double-blind, placebo controlled, crossover trials which found that BCA in particular may be effective in lowering the visual threshold and improving dark adaptation, after a 30 minute dark adaptation test, as well as reducing both visual and musculoskeletal fatigue at a dose of 50 mg BCA compared to placebo.3

The Ageing Eye

As well as alleviating eye strain, it is also essential to protect the eyes against the negative effects of ageing. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of irreversible blindness in people over the age of 65. Photo-oxidative damage is believed to contribute to focal extracellular deposits of protein and lipids, known as drusen, accumulating between the layers of the retinal pigmented epithelium.4 The drusen formation ultimately manifests as loss of central vision, compromising the ability to read or see fine detail. It is suggested that lutein and zeaxanthin may inhibit drusen formation and prevent AMD by acting as free radical scavengers, having been shown to reduce lipid peroxidation in retinal cells in-vitro.5

Sight – A Gift Worth Protecting

Eye health is a frequently neglected area of wellbeing, and visual fatigue is all too often taken for granted as being an inevitable part of the modern lifestyle. While eye strain is not a common clinical presentation, it is important that we recognise not only the symptoms associated with poor eye health, but also the options available to manage visual problems which may arise. You need no longer resort to the myriad of retail eye products, which may not be delivering the required results. Provide yourself with targeted clinical support for your eye health to help protect one of our most precious attributes – sight.

By Millie Joseph from Power Healing


  1. Matsumoto H, Nakamura Y, Iida H, Ito K, Ohguro H. Comparative assessment of distribution of blackcurrant anthocyanins in rabbit and rat ocular tissues. Exp Eye Res. 2006 Aug;83(2):348-56.
  2. Yagi A, Fujimoto K, Michihiro K, et al. The effect of lutein supplementation on visual fatigue: a psycholophysiological analysis. Appl Ergon. 2009;40(6):1047-54.
  3. Nakaishi H, Matsumoto H, Tominaga S, Hirayama M. Effects of black current anthocyanoside intake on dark adaptation and VDT work-induced transient refractive alteration in healthy humans. Altern Med Rev. 2000;5(6):553-62.
  4. Williams MA, Craig D, Passmore P, Silvestri G. Retinal drusen: harbingers of age, safe havens for trouble. Age Ageing. 2009;38(6):648-54.
  5. Alves-Rodrigues A, Shao A. The science behind lutein. Toxicol Lett. 2004. 150(1):57-83.

Give Your Eyes a Break is a post from: Group Fitness Training Sydney

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