Herbal nutrition for eyes?

Gandy75041(z8TX)March 13, 2005

Recently had cataract surgery on one eye - also have some macular degeneration found. Now have less sight in that eye than before surgery and am totally confused. Are there any herbal suggestions to nourish the eye. Today's breed of doctors are pretty much "hit and run" - short on conversation!!!! Many thanks.


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Judy_B_ON(Ontario 5B)

Cataract development is linked to age, smoking, UV light exposure and a diet low in fruits and vegetables. Studies with anti oxidants, herbals, fruit extracts etc have not shown any prevention effect. Avoiding UV light, not smoking and eating fruits and vegetables (as opposed to supplements) help in delaying the age of onset.

The main risk factor for macular degeneration is age. The second risk factor is smoking, followed by cardiovascular disease. Small risk factors include white race, blue eyes, blond hair, female gender and lifetime diet low in fruits and vegetables.

For people with moderate ARMD, supplements containing antioxidants (betacarotene, Vit C, and Vit E), zinc and lutein have been shown to slow progression of disease. The value of these supplements in minimal disease has not been established, ask your eye doctor whether you should be taking them. Your eye doctor will be able to suggest a brand and provide you with samples.

The antioxidant and zinc levels in these supplements are very high and you should consult your family doctor before taking them. Smokers should NOT take betacarotene as it increases the risk of lung cancer in smokers (but not in non smokers), Vitamin E has recently been found to possibly increase risk of heart attack and zinc can cause urinary tract problems in men.

A diet high in leafy green vegetables (eg spinach, kale) and brightly coloured red, yellow and orange fruits and vegetables (peppers, squash, corn, mangoes, melons) is known to help slow macular degeneration. The various supplements on the market will cost you $30 to $40 a month. If you have early or mild degeneration, spend the money at the produce stand instead of the drug store.

Here is a link that might be useful: Macular Degeneration

    Bookmark   March 13, 2005 at 3:20PM
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Many thanks Judy. I'm afraid I'm a lost cause since I'm approaching 85 yrs and have been a smoker for many years. Perhaps that is why my doctor offered no suggestions. I do so appreciate your response to my query.


    Bookmark   March 13, 2005 at 5:07PM
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johnyb(QLD Aust)

Bilberry may also be useful. Tastes nice too.

Here is a link that might be useful: Bilberry

    Bookmark   March 13, 2005 at 7:57PM
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ltcollins1949(9a TX)


You always have such good information. My paternal grandmother had Macular Degeneration, and I know that my dad worries about it. I'm sending him this link so he can check it out.


    Bookmark   March 14, 2005 at 1:09PM
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Thanks johnyb for reminding me of Bilberry - I have some, if I can find it; otherwise will get another bottle. Many thanks.


    Bookmark   March 14, 2005 at 2:06PM
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thorspippi(z9/s14 CA Sacramento)

One day, substance X is good for you. The next day it's bad. The day after that....


Maybe the Breatharians had the right idea.

*frustrated sigh*

    Bookmark   March 14, 2005 at 6:20PM
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Thorspippi - Ah Ha, now, that's my way of thinking and the reason I don't take prescription drus!!!! Sure happy I missed out on Vioxx, Celebrex, etc.


    Bookmark   March 14, 2005 at 7:23PM
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murphyl(Metro Detroit)

Hmm. Judy's post pretty much covers everything I'd recommend. Personally I see nothing wrong with an OTC eye health supplement on top of that; the AREDS study (a major ongoing study of ARMD patients) indicated that patients on an antioxidant supplement gained one to two lines of vision over those taking placebo. Just check with your doctor first.

Some patients with co-existing ARMD and cataracts notice no change or a worsening of vision post-op from cataract extraction. In most cases, vision loss previously attributed to the cataract was actually being caused by the ARMD or other retinal pathology, and with more light coming into the eye through a replacement IOL, the retinal problems become glaringly obvious.

What form of ARMD did your doctor say you had, and where are the lesions located? I ask because ARMD comes in two forms, and the atrophic, or "dry" form tends to have a slightly better prognosis. Also, the location of the lesion(s) has a large bearing on the progression of the disease; a lesion closer to the fovea will cause you more problems than one on the macular periphery.

Best of luck to you.

(Note: I am not a physician, merely a layperson with some background in ophthalmology. Please check with your doctor before taking anyone's advice about your health.)

    Bookmark   April 10, 2005 at 2:34AM
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Leutin leutin (hope I spelled it right)

    Bookmark   April 15, 2005 at 11:05AM
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