Increase antioxidants. Increased nutritional supplements are important for good vision (Prog Food Nutri Sci, 1987; 10: 39-55). Aim for excellent supplements which include vitamin A, as well as B1, mg B2 and B6, B12, vitamin C (up to 3 g), high doses of vitamin D2, vitamin E and selenium, nicotinic acid, folic acid, para aminobenzoic acid, calcium, choline and inositol, magnesium and potassium. Ocutrein, by Larkhall, is a general formula especially for eyes based on the work of Dr Evans (Larkhall, 225 Putney Bridge Road, London SW15 2PY).Change your diet. The late ophthalmologist Stanley Evans recommended a high protein diet with a minimum daily intake of 70 to 80 gms of good quality protein in the form of milk, eggs and other high protein foods (Evans, S, Help for Progressive Myopes, Sanctuary House; £4.99). While carrots are a useful source of beta carotene, green vegetables may provide even more protection. In one study, a high intake of green vegetables reduced the risk of AMD (JAMA, 1994; 272: 1413-20). This has been confirmed in recent research, which finds the foods richest in lutein and zeaxanthin, vital vision saving substances, are: kiwi, seedless grapes, celery, cucumber, pumpkin, spinach, butternut, zucchini, yellow squash, orange and green peppers, egg yolk, honeydew and corn (Br J Opthal, 1998; 82: 907-910).
Avoid aspartame. While research is thin on the ground, some believe that high consumption of aspartame sweetened foods can contribute to eye problems. Some of the sweetener’s reported side effects include: decreased vision, blurring, bright flashes, tunnel vision, black spots, double vision, pain, dry eyes and even retinal detachment (For further reference read HJ Roberts books, Aspartame (NutraSweet): Is It Safe? Philadelphia: Charles Press, 1990; Sweet’ner Dearest: Bittersweet Vignettes about Aspartame (NutraSweet), Florida: Sunshine Sentinel Press, 1992).
Herbs. A single dose (200 mg) of Vaccinium myrtillus extract (VME), produced from bilberry or European blueberry, was shown to bring about measurable improvements (via electro retinography) in patients with myopia and glaucoma. Another study of VME (400 mg per day) with 20 mg daily of beta carotene improved adaptation to light and night vision as well as enlargement of the visual field (Ann Oftalm Clin Ocul, 1965; 91: 371-86). Other studies show that VME, combined with vitamin E, can improve myopia (Klin Monatsbl Augenheilkd, 1977; 171: 616-9).
Pycnogenols (PCG), which contain complexes of vitamin C like flavonoid nutrients, are made from the leaves of the hazelnut bush, the bract of the lime tree, the bark of the Landes’ pine or grapeseed skin (Vitis vinifera). PCG given at 150-300 mg per day can significantly improve vision in the dark and after glare (J Fr Opthalmol, 1988; 11: 452-60; Bull Soc Opthalmol Fr, 1988; 88: 173-4 and 177-9). In another small study, 85.7 per cent of myopic patients taking Vitis vinifera experienced significant improvement, and 40 per cent remarkable improvement, as noted by retinal measurement (Ann Aft Clin Ocul, 1988; 114: 85-93).
Rule out chemicals and other toxins. Heavy metal poisoning may contribute to visual problems as can household toxins and pollutants. The link between chemicals and eyesight was publicised in the medical press recently when the fashion for “foam parties” led to several eyesight problems (N Eng J Med, 1996; 334: 474). The foam used was alkaline and probably not far removed from the kind of chemicals and detergents one would find in the average home.