Low antioxidant levels in eye tissue are directly correlated to incidence of macular degeneration. A small study found a relationship between low intake of antioxidants and advanced Age-Related Macular Degeneration. Macular Degeneration is an eye disease associated with aging. Many middle-aged and elderly individuals seek to prolong good vision and prevent eye disease.
Lutein and Zeaxanthin
This study looked at low intake of antioxidants with specific focus on lutein and zeaxanthin. Antioxidants fight free-radical damage. They protect the eyes and body from damage due to free radicals. Their intake was measured by the amount of fruits and vegetables consumed. Lutein and zeaxanthin are carotenoids especially important for vision. They are found in some brightly-colored produce and other foods such as eggs. Carotenoids give fruits and vegetables their color.
Advanced ARMD Linked to Low Antioxidant Levels
This study compared 72 “wet” neovascular ARMD patients to 62 healthy controls. The researchers found that those with advanced ARMD were twice as likely to have low antioxidant intake. The two key eye carotenoids were markedly less than in the controls. This study links a poor diet to poor macular health.
Wet Macular Degeneration (10% of the cases of macular degeneration) is due to the body growing new blood vessels in the retina, probably to supplement the existing insufficient nutrient supply. These new blood vessels are weak, and tend to leak which can cause acute loss of vision if not treated, typically through eye injections. In addition they distort the spacial position of other retinal cells.
Editor’s note: The eyes are the second most physiologically active part of one’s body next to ones brain. They require possibly up to 25% of the nutrients we take into our body to maintain healthy vision. The macula, responsible for central vision, is yellowish in color due to the concentration of carotenoids. Numerous peer review studies to date show ARMD to be a nutritionally responsive disease.
Adequate nutrition throughout life helps stave off many eye diseases. In the aging individual, poor nutrition, compromised circulation and less efficient absorption of nutrients can often be the root cause of common eye diseases such as ARMD. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables, plus supplementation of key nutrients can prolong good health in the eyes and throughout the body.
Study: “Neovascular age‐related macular degeneration and its relationship to antioxidant intake” in Acta Ophthalmologica Scandinavica 80(4):368 – 371 · August 2002