As we age, our bodies start to deteriorate and disease can set in. If we live long enough it is almost inevitable that we will ultimately develop some kind of visual impairment or, ultimately, complete blindness. Degenerative eye conditions often begin to set in around middle age and, by the age of seventy, a large percentage of people will be suffering from cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration. Another major cause of visual impairment in adults is diabetic retinopathy and we will discuss all of these conditions in much more detail below.
Nowadays, there are many scientific studies published which show that many common eye diseases can be prevented by a simple change of lifestyle and diet. There is now much evidence that daily supplementation with antioxidants and anti-glycating agents (such as Carnosine) can help to prevent, as well as treat, many different eye diseases. The main challenge with oral supplementation is that, as we get older, the blood supply to the eyes is reduced and so it is much harder for these essential supplements to get to where they are needed the most. It is, for this very reason, that N-Acetyl-Carnosine (or just NAC for short) eye drops were originally developed in the first place. When applied topically to the surface of the eye, they penetrate through the cornea and much more effectively deliver the Carnosine to the internal parts of the eye where they can then go to work and do their job. This then helps to protect the eye against many different pathologies that cause age-related ocular disorders and also helps to combat and treat many other common eye diseases as well.
It is estimated that eighty-percent of people over the age of seventy-five suffer with diminished vision due to cataracts. In the States, cataracts surgery costs Medicare more money than any other medical procedure and approximately sixty-percent of people who initially qualify for Medicare have cataracts already. By taking precautionary measures early on in your life, it could very well put you in the twenty-percent bracket of people who will continue to enjoy good eye health in later life and never have to worry about cataracts or any other ocular disorders.
Cataracts is the commonest cause of blindness worldwide and is a clouding of the eye’s lens which causes a reduction in its ability to let light pass through it which results in a deterioration of one’s vision. It can be likened to looking at the world through a frosted glass window pane and, as the condition worsens, it can soon make common everyday tasks, like reading a book or driving a car, much more difficult, and ultimately impossible. It is estimated that there are over twenty-million people in the world who suffer from cataracts and, in the states alone, there are over 350,000 cataracts operations carried out each year, at an estimated cost of $6.8 billion, so it is a very serious problem indeed.
Some people are born with minor lens opacities, but ones which will never progress into anything more serious, whereas others can progress on to requiring cataracts surgery or, ultimately, inevitable blindness if left untreated. There are many different contributing factors which affect our vision and the onset and development of cataracts including; old age, diet and nutrition, exposure to sunlight, prescription drugs (especially steroidal), high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney disease, or as a result of trauma to the eye.
As we age, certain metabolic changes cause the lens of the eye to develop cataracts due to a cross-linking of proteins in the crystalline structure of the lens. Part of this can be contributed to a lack of essential nutrients and a diminishing oxygen supply which leaves the eye even more susceptible to damage from free-radicals. In a report by the National Academy of Science, back in 1983, they wrote that cataracts are initially started by free-radical hydrogen peroxide being present in the aqueous humour which is the gel-like fluid inside of the eye. These free-radicals, like hydrogen peroxide, oxidise glutathione (GSH), which then in turn destroys the energy-producing systems within the eye and allows sodium to leak into the lens. Once this happens, then water also follows the sodium into the lens and the early stages of cataracts begin. Body heat in the lens of the eye oxidises the lens proteins, effectively cooking the protein, which then becomes opaque in colour and insoluble, in just the same way that egg protein does when it is cooked.
One Harvard Medical School’s scientific medical report stated that oxidative mechanisms may play an important role in the development of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration which are two of the most common eye diseases that cause visual impairment in people as they age. They recommended that further research should be carried out in the areas of preventative therapy and treatment by using antioxidants to protect and preserve lens function and thus delay, or even prevent, the onset of cataracts and other debilitating eye disorders. By delaying the onset of cataracts by just ten years, it is estimated that it would save the States at least half of their current $6.8 billion a year which is currently spent on cataracts operations and on people having to visit their eye specialist with cataracts.
Cataracts treatment with Carnosine and N-Acetyl-Carnosine eye drops
The treatment and the prevention of cataracts using dietary supplements is probably now one of the most scientifically documented, and free-radical damage is now widely accepted as being directly linked to causing cataracts and its associated damage to good eye health. Many scientific studies now document the beneficial effects that supplements can have at reducing free-radical damage and even in helping the body to reverse the damage after it has already been done. This is the case with NAC eye drops which are now widely accepted as a natural alternative to invasive cataracts surgery. Daily oral supplementation with Carnosine will also help the drops to work faster, and even more effectively, by launching a combined, two-pronged offensive, on this debilitating eye disease.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
The central and most important part of the eye’s retina is called the macular and it converts the images that we see into tiny electrical impulses which are then sent to the brain where they are then translated into what we perceive as our sight. The job of the macular is to focus our central vision which is essential for reading, driving, recognising people’s facial features and seeing things in fine detail.
Macular degeneration is one of the leading causes of visual impairment in people over the age of fifty-five, with over ten million cases in the States alone. This figure looks set to double by the year 2020 as all of the baby-boomers are now at the age that they are starting to develop these types of eye conditions, and also because more and more people are living longer. It is an eye disease that affects the central part of the retina called the macula and hence where it gets its name from. The statistics are that it effects both men and women exactly the same but it is more common in white people than in black. Its exact cause is still unknown but it can tend to run in some families and it affects more American people than both cataracts and glaucoma combined.
There are two different types of macular degeneration; one being atrophic, or dry, and the other one being exudative, or wet. The dry form is by far the most common, with eighty-five to ninety-percent of all cases falling into this category. Both types of this eye disease can affect both eyes at the same time but, quite often, one eye will develop it before the other. Regular eye examinations are essential for the early diagnoses of this disease and, if caught early enough, steps can be taken to help prevent the still good eye from degenerating in the same way as the other one. Macular degeneration can cause serious visual impairment and affects both the central field of vision as well as the peripheral field. It does not generally affect the subject’s ability to see colours and it is rare that it will lead to complete blindness.
Conventional medicine unfortunately offers little, or no, hope to macular degeneration sufferers but, thankfully, an alternative, more holistic approach can help, and leading researchers are now documenting the benefits. Patients are advised to increase their overall physical fitness and to improve their nutritional intake from their diet including; reducing their intake of saturated fats, abstain from smoking and alcohol, and to protect their eyes from excessive exposure to sunlight. They are also recommended to improve their body’s overall metabolic and vascular functionality by the regular use of dietary supplements including; antioxidants, trace elements and essential vitamins and minerals. Patient education and early screening offer the best hopes for reducing the occurrences of this debilitating eye disease.
Age-related macular degeneration treatment with Zeaxanthin and Lutein
Zeaxanthin and lutein are the primary two carotenoids found in the macula of the eye which give it its yellowish appearance and help to counteract the damage of free-radical formation by the action of light and oxygen. This macula pigment density helps to protect the retina in two different ways; firstly by scavenging and quenching free-radicals and, secondly, by filtering out the blue light rays which can cause photochemical damage to the macular. Several studies have shown a direct link between supplementation with these two dietary carotenoids and an increase in macular pigment density which then gives far better protection to the macular.
Early researchers originally thought that dark-green leafy vegetables, like spinach and kale, were the highest natural sources of these two essential carotenoids from our diet, but more recent studies have shown that this is, in fact, not the case. One study carried out to find the highest levels of zeaxanthin and lutein in our diet studied thirty-three different fruits, vegetables, juices and egg yolks. Contrary to the earlier researchers findings, they found that egg yolks and maize, in fact, had the highest levels of these two carotenoids; with more than eighty-five-percent of total carotenoid content. Maze was found to have the highest lutein content, with sixty-percent, and orange peppers had the highest content of zeaxanthin, with thirty-seven-percent. Substantial amounts, between thirty to fifty-percent, were also found in kiwi fruit, grapes, orange juice and zucchini. In comparison, green-leafy vegetables only had between fifteen to forty-seven-percent of lutein, and only zero to three-percent of zeaxanthin. Even with these much lower amounts, the earlier studies had shown that eating those green-leafy vegetables had reduced the risks of contracting macular degeneration by as much as forty-three-percent. So, with this new evidence of foods containing even higher levels of these two essential carotenoids, these figures should be significantly higher also.
Besides opting for a more healthy lifestyle, and eating more healthily, it is a very wise idea to supplement with zeaxanthin and lutein as an ounce of prevention is far better than a pound of cure. The very best way to supplement with these two essential carotenoids is to use a sublingual mouth spray as it delivers them directly to the eyes 900 times more effectively than oral supplementation with pills, tablets or capsules. You simply spray the mouth spray, directly under your tongue, and wait for a few minutes, before swilling it around your cheeks, and then swallowing it. This is, by far, the fastest method to get the supplements directly into your blood stream and they then get delivered, directly to the eyes where they are needed the most, in just a couple of minutes.
Supplementing in this way will help build up the macular pigment density within your eyes and thus give you much better natural protection from macular degeneration. If you have macular degeneration in one eye it will help to stop it from developing in the other eye. Also, be sure to only buy supplements which contain high levels of zeaxanthin in them. As it is a lot more expensive than lutein, many supplement manufacturers only use token amounts of zeaxanthin in their products, so that they can include it in the ingredients list on their label, but there then isn’t really enough in their product to give you any beneficial results. The best recommendation is to take at least 5mg to 10mg per day of zeaxanthin, so be sure to only use a product which will give you the required dosage to ensure that you will see the most beneficial results.
Age-related macular degeneration treatment with Carnosine and N-Acetyl-Carnosine eye drops
L-Carnosine, more commonly known as Carnosine (AKA Ignotine) is a dipeptide of the two amino acids Beta-Alanine and L-Histidine. It is naturally occurring in all our bodies, but it depletes with age by about ten-percent per year after the age of thirty.
It is the only supplement available, anywhere in the world, which possess the unique ability to actually regenerate and rejuvenate cells. It also extends the Hayflick factor, which is the number of times that a cell can divide and multiply before it finally dies. It is also a super-antioxidant and free-radical scavenger that effectively quenches even the most destructive free radicals; the hydroxyl and peroxyl radicals, singlet oxygen and superoxide. It is also an excellent anti-glycating agent and the most effective anti-carbonylation agent discovered so far; carbonylation is one of the pathological steps in the age-related degradation of proteins within the body.
Early studies showed that daily supplementation with Carnosine could protect against, and even start to reverse, many degenerative eye diseases including; macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy. As already stated above, oral ingestion of supplements isn’t the best way to deliver them to the eyes, and especially as the blood supply to the eyes reduces as we age. So, for this very reason, eye drops containing the Carnosine derivative, N-Acetyl-Carnosine (or NAC for short), were developed to deliver the Carnosine through the cornea and into the eye below, where it can then go to work protecting the eye and helping to repair any damage.
The very best treatment currently available for macular degeneration is to take Carnosine as an oral supplement, apply NAC eye drops hourly throughout the day, and use a zeaxanthin and lutein sublingual spray which delivers at least 5mg to 10mg of zeaxanthin as its daily dose. There is already anecdotal evidence from people who have been using this regime of treatment, for between six and twelve months, who claim that their macular degeneration has started to reverse and their vision has improved, which previously was unheard of. More research and clinical trials are now needed to verify these very encouraging findings but, in the meantime, when your eye doctor says that there is unfortunately nothing that can be done, it is well worth exploring all other avenues.
Glaucoma is a collection of different eye conditions that cause damage to the optic nerve and it is often, but not always, associated with elevated intraocular pressure (IOP) levels within the eye. The area inside of the eye between the cornea, which is the outer surface of the eye, and the lens inside of the eye, is filled with a vitreous gel-like fluid called the aqueous humour. This is constantly being produced and circulates inside of the eye and then out through a mesh-like area known as the ‘angle’. It is not to be confused with tears (technically known as lachrymal) which are a completely different form of fluid produced by secretions from the tear glands to moisten and lubricate the surface of the eye and to wash out unwanted particles and other irritants.
There are two different types of glaucoma known as open-angle glaucoma and closed-angle glaucoma. In open-angle glaucoma the angle is only partially blocked which causes the pressure within the eye to escalate as the aqueous humour is still being produced at the same rate but isn’t being allowed to flow out of the eye properly in the normal way. Closed-angle glaucoma refers to the condition when the angle is completely blocked which will cause a rapid increase in intraocular pressure within the eye and should be immediately treated as an ocular emergency to avoid blindness.
Glaucoma is often hereditary, meaning that it runs in families, and usually develops in people who are over the age of forty, but it can also be congenital, meaning that it is present at birth, or caused by physical injury to the eye, and so it can also be found in some younger people too. It is estimated that one in every twenty-five Americans suffer with glaucoma and there are over 62,500 people who are legally blind due to this debilitating eye disease. As more and more people live longer, these already alarming figures are set to rise still further unless more people are educated about the problem and start to take preventative measures themselves.
The main causes of glaucoma are attributed to an age-related loss of natural antioxidants within the eye that leads to both physical and oxidative-stress damage to the eye. Tests have shown that there is a direct correlation between deminished antioxidant levels in lachrymal tear fluid and blood plasma levels and the progression of glaucoma. It is also suggested that as the protective capacities of antioxidants and protease diminish with age, the rate of crystalline damage increases proportionately also.
Glaucoma treatment with Carnosine and N-Acetyl-Carnosine eye drops
The very best treatment available for glaucoma is to use NAC eye drops for glaucoma in conjunction with daily supplementation with Carnosine. The eye drops are applied topically to the eyes and penetrate the cornea to deliver the Carnosine into the aqueous humour inside of the eye, where it then goes to work repairing the damage and helping to reduce elevated intraocular pressure. A proportion of the Carnosine taken orally will also get delivered to the eyes, via the bloodstream, and thus help the eye drops to work even faster and more efficiently.
Retinopathy means a type of non-inflammatory damage which is done to the retina of the eye. Diabetic retinopathy refers to damage to the retina which has been caused by diabetes and will eventually lead to complete blindness if left untreated. Diabetes is a group of systemic metabolic diseases where the patient has elevated blood sugar levels because; either their body is not producing enough insulin (Type I diabetes), or their cells are not responding properly to the insulin which is being produced (Type II diabetes).
The high blood sugar levels in diabetics cause vascular damage to the eyes’ retinal blood vessels. The damaged vessels then leak fluid, restrict oxygen flow and blur vision. As the disease progresses, the eyes try to form new vessels on the surface of the retina which can also bleed and obscure vision even further.
It is estimated that eighty-percent of people who have had diabetes for ten years or more will develop this eye disease. The longer the person has diabetes, then the greater the chances are that they will develop diabetic retinopathy. Current research indicates that ninety-percent of all new cases could be reduced with proper regular monitoring and treatment for diabetics.
Current research shows that oxidation induced by glycation can cause massive damage to the eye. When sugar molecules inappropriately bind themselves to protein molecules, protein glycation occurs, distorting them and rendering them useless, and this process is known as protein cross-linking. Glycation also increases the oxidative processes as well, which may explain why they both increase at the same time as we age. High blood sugar levels increase glycation which may also account for the various different types of tissue damage associated with advanced cases of diabetes.
The vitreous humour within the eye is made up of a fine network of hyaluronan gel, collagen, proteoglycans and fibronectin; all of these substances are very susceptible to damage from free-radicals, brought about by sunlight, UV damage and glycation. Carnosine is an excellent super-antioxidant that fights and quenches free-radicals and it is also an excellent anti-glycating agent as well. In diabetics, the vitreous humour changes more rapidly than it should do just with normal aging. These changes can be the cause of functional disturbances as well as retinal detachment.
Diabetic retinopathy treatment with Carnosine and N-Acetyl-Carnosine eye drops
Prevention is far better than cure and the best way to prevent, or at least slow down the onset of diabetic retinopathy, is to diligently control blood sugar levels. Daily oral supplementation with Carnosine stabilises red blood cell membranes and helps to protect them from the damaging effects of glycation in diabetic patients. It effectively delays the onset of diabetes and also helps to increase the cell mass of insulin-secreting pancreatic cells.
Carnosine acts upon multiple targets within cells, and other body tissues, quenching the chemical reactions that stop proteins from functioning normally. Its beneficial effects on the autonomic nervous system help to decrease elevated blood glucose levels. By helping to modulate these high blood sugar levels, Carnosine effectively reduces the likelihood of these damaging glycation reactions to occur.
Even more importantly for diabetic retinopathy patients, Carnosine has also been shown to have excellent vasoprotective capabilities and protects retinal capillary cells from damage. N-Acetyl-Carnosine eye drops applied topically to the eyes are the fastest and most effective delivery mechanism to get the Carnosine into the eyes where it is needed the most.
AGELESS EYES OF THE FUTURE
As more and more is learned about the importance of antioxidants and the roles that they have to play in maintaining good eye health by reducing oxidative-stress damage, combined with people become more and more educated themselves, we should see a significant reduction in the numbers of people suffering from these debilitating eye diseases in the not too distant future. Regular eye examinations are of paramount importance, as early detection of many ocular disorders make treatment a lot easier, quicker and much more effective. Using antioxidants, like the ones discussed above, as a prophylactic measure is also very highly recommended to help prevent the onset of eye diseases in the first place. If you start using them daily now, then you may never have to worry about eye problems in the future, and thus enjoy truly ageless eyes.