If the eyes are the window to the soul, they’re also your window to the outside world. Along with a good diet, certain supplements may help ensure that window stays clear.
Coleus for fighting eye disease
Coleus has been used in Asia for many different ailments. It is relatively new in the United States. Natural Standard has given it a grade of B for glaucoma, meaning that there is good scientific evidence supporting its effectiveness in improving the symptoms of this condition. (Glaucoma is caused by increased intraocular pressure, or IOP, inside the eye. Left untreated, an elevated IOP may damage the optic nerve and retinal fibers, which can lead to vision loss.)
Coleus could also help people who have cataracts. A cataract is a clouding of the lens in the eye that affects vision. The National Eye Institute estimates that by age 80, more than half of all Americans will either have a cataract or have had cataract surgery.
Although coleus eye drops may be an effective natural remedy for cataracts and glaucoma, they should be used cautiously in people who have thyroid disorders, diabetes, low blood pressure, heart disease, asthma or a history of bleeding.
Natural options for macular degeneration
Macular degeneration is another eye disease that is common among older people. This condition affects the retina, the layer of nerve cells that lines the back of the eyeball. It’s the leading cause of legal blindness in Americans over age 60 and has become a major public health problem now that we’re living longer.
Although there is no cure for macular degeneration, there are natural remedies that may help slow its progression. A healthy, antioxidant-rich diet may help prevent further damage to the retina, and including more colorful, leafy vegetables on the menu in place of fattier foods may help improve your health in more ways than one.
Some alternative therapies that have been studied in the management of macular degeneration symptoms include ginkgo, an herb that may help improve blood flow in the eye, and omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to decrease the risk of developing macular degeneration. Additionally, coenzyme Q10 has been studied in the treatment of this eye disease. However, all of these therapies have received a Natural Standard grade of C for macular degeneration, meaning that there is unclear or conflicting evidence supporting their effectiveness for this ailment.
As always, please consult your doctor or pharmacist before taking any new herbs or supplements. A qualified healthcare professional can help you determine whether an alternative therapy is right for you and may help you look through a pair of healthy eyes well into your later years.
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