Our eyes adore antioxidants, and vitamin A is one of the top free radical-fighting antioxidants when it comes to eye care.
Free radicals go after the enzymes, membranes, and proteins in our eye lens, so vitamin A support is crucial.
Look for vitamin A in capsules or an emulsion form, which is easier for the body to absorb.
Also, find a carotenoid complex (relatives of vitamin A) that includes lutein and zeaxanthin. These carotenoids protect eye cells from free radical damage, which in turn may help prevent cataracts.
Make sure you’re getting your daily dose of B complex, C, and E, all of which contribute to healthy eyes. In a major clinical study from the National Eye Institute, taking vitamins C and E, plus zinc helped reduce risk of macular degeneration.
For an antidote to everything from eyestrain to conjunctivitis, check out some of these simple remedies.
BILBERRY: This antioxidant powerhouse is bristling with anti-inflammatory properties (like its cousin, the blueberry). Those same anti-inflammatory actions may also help soothe inflamed eye vessels.
CHAMOMILE: Steep two chamomile teabags in hot water until fully saturated, and then cool until comfortably warm. Place over eyes for 15 minutes.
EYEBRIGHT: A compress of eyebright can relieve inflammation, itching, or burning around the eyelids, and speed healing from conjunctivitis, also known as pinkeye, where eyes can be swollen, irritated, or closed with pus. Soak compresses in warm tea, and cool until comfortable to the touch. Apply and leave in place for 10-15 minutes. Capsules are an option, too, or check out eyebright tinctures and eye drops.
GOLDENSEAL: Goldenseal relieves itching, burning, and inflammation—follow the directions under “eyebright” above to make a compress.
GREEN TEA: And who doesn’t love their daily sip of green tea, especially knowing that it’s jam-packed with antioxidants that neutralize the free radicals that could lead to cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration?
“Age-Related Eye Disease Study—Results,” National Eye Institute, www.nei.nih.gov
“Bilberry Extract and Vision” by Julie Edgar, www.WebMD.com
“Computer and Internet Use in the United States,” by the US Census Bureau, 2013
Medicinal Herbs by Rosemary Gladstar ($14.95, Storey, 2012)
Prescription for Nutritional Healing by Phyllis A. Balch, CNC ($30, Avery, 2010)