Top 6 Vitamins And Herbs For Eye Health

September 27, 2011

Tired and sore eyes can be a problem for computer users. Given the full day that many of us have, it's no wonder our eyes sometimes suffer. And they are the first place to show the effects of tiredness and stress.

In a perfect world, we would get all of our vitamins from food. However, modern farming practices and the depletion of nutrients in soil often results in fruit and vegetables having significantly less minerals and vitamins than they used to, when everything was 'organic'. Foods labeled and sold as organic these days tend to have more vitamin C, iron, magnesium and phosphorus, and less of the harmful nitrates and other residues from pesticides.

However, not everyone has ready access to organic food, or the money to buy it for the whole family. Thus, vitamin supplements are a good option to help us get our missing nutrients.

Here is a list of the top 6 vitamins, herbs, and phytonutrients to help alleviate the problem of sore, dry eyes, and maintain good vision:

1. Bilberry - Bilberry is a herb used for both gastrointestinal and eye health. The active ingredients are called anthocyanosides, which are a type of flavanoid. Anthocyanosides are antioxidants that help improve the flow of blood through the capillaries in eyes. They help eyes adjust quickly to changes in light, and improve sharpness of vision.

Bilberry has also been shown to be effective in stopping the progression of cataracts when taken with vitamin E. It's also used to treat diabetic retinopathy, and macular degeneration.

2. Vitamin A - Vitamin A is important for good night vision, and may play a role in preventing cataracts.

3. Grapeseed - Grapeseed is good for the peripheral circulation in our eyes. It also strengthens the capillaries.

4. Eyebright - Eyebright makes a great eye home remedy. Steep it in hot water to let the herb infuse, then remove the herb and cool the remaining liquid. You could put it in the freezer to cool it down quickly if you don't have any infused eyebright on hand in the fridge. Once its cool, use it as an eye bath, or a compress. It's great for sore eyes, and has an anti-inflammatory and soothing action.

5. Omega 3 Fatty Acids - Research from Harvard Medical school has found that taking omega 3 oils reduces the chance of getting dry eyes. Try taking 3 to 6 grams of a good quality fish oil supplement daily.

6. Lutein - Lutein is one example of a type of plant nutrient known as carotenoids. Better known examples include beta carotene and alpha carotene. Carotenoids are responsible for giving fruit and vegetables their distinctive colors, and the brightness of a fruit or vegetable is a good indicator of how much carotenoids it has in it. Those with a rich color have a higher concentration.

Lutein, beta, and alpha carotene are converted by the body into vitamin A. And lutein is found in very high concentrations in the macula of the eye. Lutein is used to help prevent macular degeneration, which is a big problem for people over 40 years of age. Macular degeneration can lead to blindness. Lutein is thought to work as an antioxidant in this capacity.

Other solutions for dry eyes include soaking chamomile tea bags and placing them on both eyes when they are cool. Chamomile helps reduce redness and swelling around the eye. Iced milk can also be used on a compress for sore eyes. Soak cotton wool or gauze pads with very cold milk (the coolness helps narrow blood vessels), and the fat in milk is very soothing for dry skin.

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