A unique window into health are your eyes. A list of 14 things your eyes can tell you about your entire body has assembled Yahoo Health. Here are some of them:
This is a common sign of thyroid disease when the outer third of your eyebrow starts to disappear on its own.
A STYE THAT WON’T GO AWAY
It could be a rare cancer called sebaceous gland carcinoma if it doesn’t clear up in three months, or keeps recurring in the same location.
BURNING EYES, BLURRY VISION WHILE USING A COMPUTER
This is the result of “computer vision syndrome” (CVS). By the lack of contrast on a computer screen, and the extra work involved in focusing on pixels is partly caused the eyestrain .
A SMALL BLIND SPOT IN YOUR VISION, WITH SHIMMERING LIGHTS OR A WAVY LINE
A migraine aura produces this disturbed vision. It may or may not be accompanied by a headache.
WHITES OF THE EYE TURNED YELLOWISH
This is known as jaundice. It appears in either newborns with immature liver function, or adults with problems of theliver, gallbladder, or bile ducts.
EYES THAT SEEM TO BULGE
Hyperthyroidism, which is overactivity of the thyroid gland is the most common cause of protruding eyes.
SUDDEN DOUBLE VISION, DIM VISION, OR LOSS OF VISION
These are the visual warning signs of stroke.
BLURRED VISION IN A DIABETIC
For several eye problems diabetics are at increased risk, but the most common is diabetic retinopathy, in whichdiabetes affects the circulatory system of the eye. In American adults it’s the leading cause of blindness.
One of your most precious senses is your eyesight but until it starts to fail it’s easy to take the gift of sight for granted. Unfortunately, a side effect of diabetes is one of the leading causes of blindness in American adults. When you consider that today, nearly 1 in 4 Americans are either pre-diabetic or diabetic this is disconcerting.
To an increase in vision problems due to eye strain also led the increased use of computers and video display terminals (VDTs) at home and work has.
IS POOR VISION INEVITABLE AS YOU AGE?
No, it’s not.
But if you’re not careful our modern lifestyles can contribute to poor vision. Fortunately, to support your eye health there are many actions you can take. Studies show people over age 60 may need even more support in the form of well-chosen nutritional supplements. You may also need additional vision support if:
- You smoke
- You’re diabetic
- You spend a lot of time staring at a computer
Below, including nutritional support I’ll review a number of protective strategies, but first, can your eyes really tell you something about your overall state of health?
Iridology—Your Eyes as the Mirrors of Your Health?
By hinting at potential underlying health problems The Yahoo Health article above brings up several interesting correlations between your eyes and your overall health. Yet another technique in that same vein, used by some alternative health practitioners is Iridology, or iridodiagnosis, which is the study of the iris of your eye.
To the mid-17th Century goes back this theory, but iridology has yet to be recognized by mainstream medicine. In fact, the majority of medical professionals scoff at the idea.
That in specific zones of your iris various characteristics, such as patterns and colors, can provide information about your systemic health is the basic theory behind this technique. By carefully examining your iris and matching it to iris charts this is done. Using these charts, an iridologist can help identify systems and organs in your body that may be inflamed, or over- or underactive. Still, this information may be helpful under some circumstances.
If you decide to give it a try, I’d recommend you locate an iridologist who is also a licensed medical practitioner because iridology practitioners are not legally required to be licensed or certified in the US or Canada.
Natural, Common-Sense Strategies to Help Protect Healthy Vision
It’s important to address some of the lifestyle basics that can impact your vision before we get into specific nutritional factors that specifically benefit your eyes. Natural, common-sense strategies that will help protect your vision as you age include:
- Quit smoking. Smoking increases free radical production throughout your body, and including the risk of decreased vision puts you at risk for less-than-optimal health in many ways.
- Care for your cardiovascular system. Obstructing free blood flow high blood pressure can cause damage to the miniscule blood vessels on your retina. To avoid fructose is one of the primary ways to maintain optimal blood pressure. That consuming 74 grams or more per day of fructose (equal to 2.5 sugary drinks) increases your risk of having blood pressure levels of 160/100 mmHg by 77 percent shows research by Dr. Richard Johnson, chief of the division of kidney disease and hypertension at the University of Colorado.
- Normalize your blood sugar. Affecting your ability to focus excessive sugar in your blood can pull fluid from the lens of your eye. And, it can damage the blood vessels in your retina, also obstructing blood flow.
- Eat plenty of fresh dark green leafy vegetables, especially kale. That a diet rich in darkleafy greens helps support eye health studies have shown. And that those with the highest consumption of carotenoid-rich vegetables, especially ones rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, had increased vision health.
- Get plenty of healthy omega-3 fat. That consuming omega-3 fatty acids was protective of your healthy vision found a study published in the August 2001 issue of Archives of Ophthalmology. Unfortunately, fish is no longer an ideal source for omega-3 fats due to widespread pollution and fish farming unless you can verify its purity. My favorite alternative is krill oil, which also contains astaxanthin. This potent antioxidant also has specific benefits for your eyes, which I’ll discuss below.
- Avoid trans fats. By interfering with omega-3 fats in your body a diet high in trans fat appears to contribute to macular degeneration. In many processed foods and baked goods, including margarine, shortening, fried foods like French fries, fried chicken and doughnuts, cookies, pastries and crackers trans fat is found. So, to protect your eyes, avoid trans fats like the plague.
- Avoid aspartame. Vision problems is one of the many acute symptoms of aspartame poisoning.
Antioxidants—Your Greatest Allies for Healthy Eyes
To neutralize dangerous free radicals in your body, including your eyes is the job of an antioxidant compound. A few of the antioxidants that have been shown to be of particular benefit to your eyes include:
- Black currant anthocyanins
Lutein Helps Protect Your Central Vision
In high concentrations in the macula lutea are found the first two, lutein and zeaxanthin, and are believed to serve two primary roles:
- To absorb excess photon energy, and
- To quench free-radicals before they damage the lipid membranes
In your macula – the tiny central part of your retina responsible for straight-ahead and detailed vision is the highest concentration of lutein in your eyes. More specifically, lutein is found in the macular pigment, and is known for helping to protect your central vision.
Found in green leafy vegetables, as well as yellow and orange fruits and vegetables Lutein is a naturally occurring carotenoid.
Lutein Content of Foods
ASTAXANTHIN—POWERFUL PROTECTION AGAINST TWO LEADING FORMS OF BLINDNESS
Science is now revealing that astaxanthin is really the ULTIMATE carotenoid for eye health, and the prevention of blindness although zeaxanthin and lutein do provide benefits to your eyes.
It’s a much more powerful antioxidant than both lutein and zeaxanthin, and has been found to have protective benefits against a number of eye-related problems, including:
- Age-related macular degeneration(ARMD)
- Diabetic retinopathy
- Retinal arterial occlusion
- Venous occlusion
- Cystoid macular edema
- Inflammatory eye diseases (i.e., retinitis, iritis, keratitis, and scleritis)
As you can see, this list includes three of the leading causes of blindness in the US: macular degeneration, cataracts, and diabetic retinopathy, which makes this antioxidant all the more important.
As mentioned earlier, great source of both healthy omega-3 fat and astaxanthin is a krill oil, but there are also other astaxanthin supplements on the market that are specifically formulated to support optimal eye health.
I recommend starting with 2 to 4 mg per day if you are going to give astaxanthin a try. Take that into consideration if you are on a krill oil supplement; different krill products have different concentrations of astaxanthin, so check your label. Our krill product has 0.5 mg in a daily dose.
Your eyes are now subjected to much higher levels of oxidation than our ancestors experienced. In today’s environment not only are there more contaminants, but the depletion of our ozone layer is causing more intense sunlight than ever before, which directly exposes your eyes and skin to more free radicals.
In addition, by pollution, contaminants in food and water, household chemicals, pharmaceutical drugs, and high levels of stress your body loses some of its ability to produce the high levels of antioxidants it needs to counter the everyday assault on your tissues and organs as you age.