One of your most cherished senses is sight. It enables you to observe nature, connect with people, appreciate art, and read. Most eye conditions creep up on you slowly and you don’t even notice the progression of symptoms until it’s too late. It is logical that you’d take steps to safeguard your eyes’ health to keep this precious sense. There are simple things you can do to protect your eyesight like wear sunglasses outdoors, eat well, avoid cigarette smoke and stress, and keep a healthy weight. Another thing you can do is include plants and herbs that promote eye health into your diet.
Ginkgo – This herb has been shown to improve blood flow to the retina, the light-sensitive tissue that rests at the back of the eye. Recent research indicates that extracts of ginko can help people with glaucoma improve their vision, although more research is required into this specific discovery. Similarly ginkgo is an antioxidant that protects nerve cells and can benefits the eyes’ nerves tremendously.
Coleus – This pretty plant contains forskolin, an ingredient used to create eye drops used to reduce eye pressure. It does so by reducing the production of fluid within the eye, and scientists believe it has relevance for treating glaucoma too.
Green tea – This is another of nature’s treats that are rich in antioxidants, which work to absorb and remove free radicals. Oxidative damage can affect chronic eye-related diseases such as glaucoma, macular degeneration and cataracts. Lab studies have found that retinal cells can be protected from ultraviolet light damage with the application of polyphenols found in green tea. UV light contributes to cataract formation and also increases the risk for macular degeneration.
Eyebright – This herb can commonly be found in herbal tea mixes, tinctures and homeopathic eye drops and has long been used as a folk remedy for eye conditions. In a study conducted in South Africa eye drops with Eyebright were found to hasten conjunctivitis recovery and in experiments with diabetic rats, it was found to lower blood sugar levels. Diabetes, or people who have high-glycemic diets, are both associated with an increased risk for eye diseases such as cataracts, macular degeneration, glaucoma or diabetic retinopathy.
Turmeric – This yellow ingredient is rich in the antioxidant curcumin. This potent component has been found to protect rats from forming cataracts. Researchers have also found this to be the case when combined with Vitamin E. Even if the studies have yet to be found true for humans, this antioxidant can benefit your body significantly and can spice up rice and other dishes.
Bilberry - This berry is rich in antioxidant flavonoids known as anthocyanins, which can also be found in cranberries, and blueberries. Scientists have found that extracts of this may protect eyes from cataract formation and glaucoma. In studies, researchers found extracts protect nerve cells in the retina, improve circulation and block the formation of new blood vessels - all of which are processes that occur in diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration.
Cannabis – The cannabinoids in cannabis can majorly reduce eye pressure for people with glaucoma. Studies with subjects smoking marijuana revealed that the pressure was reduced for 3 to 4 hours. The studies also looked into other consumption methods such as oral or intravenously. Unfortunately marijuana has side effects such as dry and pink eyes, reduced blood pressure and changes in mental state and behavior.